This article is translated from the blog of former Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad www.tunabdulhamid.my
ALTHOUGH the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has decided and declared that they will not pursue with the ratification of Rome Statute, both parties who wanted the government to ratify and opposed to the ratification continue to harp on the issue, trying to gain support for their grounds.
Money, time and energy were spent by both parties to organise forums, assemblies to rake public support for their ideas.
While one side puts up a good fight in demanding the ratification or Rome Statue, the other party is also putting on their best armour for the battle, as if, it is vital for the country to ratify, or not the Rome Statute.
It is discouraging when both parties did that for the wrong motive and confused the public in order to gain support for themselves.
The politicians too, were not excused from this. Is there really no other more important national issues which involve the public to fight for?
In this issue, the citizens of the United States and its government who were strongly opposed to the Rome Statute did not organise any assembly to raise their detest on the matter.
The same goes to our neighbouring countries, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and The Philippines. They did not care much. Perhaps, they are also astonished by Malaysians, especially its politicians for bringing the issue to centre stage.
There is only one focus on the issue currently: it’s effect on the Malay Rulers.
To the supporters of the ratification, they said that the Rome Statute will not affect the immunity of the Rulers.
It is not true. The Rome Statute does not recognise immunity for anyone, with the exception of those under the age of 18.
They are also confused between ‘immunity’ and ‘responsibility’ when they campaigned about the Constitutional Monarchy. The Yang DiPertuan Agong (YDPA) cannot be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for what is done by the Cabinet Ministers.
That is true, however, that is not due to the immunity of the YDPA but rather, it was not YDPA who committed the offence. Thus, I believe that it was the reason why other constitutional monarchies such as in Europe and including England, chose to ratify the Rome Statute.
On the contrary, if YDPA or the Rulers committed the offence, they could still be brought to the ICC.
At this moment, the pro-ratification group (including the Prime Minister) often said that only the Rulers or Kings who hit commoners are against the Rome Statute.
Unfortunately, they are wrong again. They are right to say that the Kings can be brought to ICC if they committed an offence. However, they are wrong as beating someone is not an offence under the Rome Statute.
It is only a common crime. For instance, killing is not ‘genocide’ under the Rome Statute. It is only considered a genocide if is an intentional action to destroy a people, ethnic, national racial or religious group in whole or part.
It is astonishing how many legal practitioners became supporters for both sides of the group. They continue to confuse the public.
It was also reported that a Professor, A Constitutional Law expert said that the ratification of Rome Statute enables Malaysia to complain about the wrongdoings of Israel towards Palestine. That also, is not true.
How is Malaysia going to do that when Israel is not ratifying the Rome Statute. Furthermore, the US has clearly stated that it would not allow investigations to be conducted on Israel.
Is is very surprising why the supporters of Rome Statute are so keen for Malaysia to ratify it when giants like US, Russia, China, India and all our neighbours rejected it. What are their motives?
Opposing the Rome Statute
First of all, Rome Statute should never be likened to ICERD. The Rome Statute has nothing to do with the rights of the Malays or the Bumiputras and racial discriminations.
It also has nothing to do with the status of Islam. Thus, both of these reasons should never be used as a basis to oppose the Rome Statute.
Perhaps, I should also make it clear that I am not aware of the opinion of the four legal professors who advised the Rulers. Thus, I do not want to elaborate on that.
From the beginning, the group that were opposed to the ratification of the Rome Statute said that it would put the Rulers under ICC. I do not know who advised them. It seemed like they could not differentiate monarchy from constitutional monarchy.
I have explained since 22 March 2019 on the status of constitutional monarchy. I am not sure if they read and understood them.
From their statement, it was as if, they did not read, understand nor agree with it. Thus, they are still talking about the effects to the Rulers in general, but not if the Rulers themselves committed the crime.
They also used ummah to attract Malays / Muslims to join them in their assemblies to oppose the ratification.
I do not want more people to be confused. Therefore, I am writing this article. The issue now is, if the Rulers committed crimes under the Rome Statute, would the protestors of the Rome Statute want these Rulers to be trialled by the ICC? That is the only issue. I leave it to their wisdom.
The organisers of these assemblies should understand the real issue and explain it to the public so that they can make their own judgements if it is worth it or not for them to spend their time, energy and money to join the plight. The public should not be confused, either deliberately or not.
In conclusion, what is the benefit for Malaysia to ratify the Rome Statute? On the contrary, if the Rulers committed those crime, do we want them to be trialled by the ICC? That’s all.
Therefore, is there a need for both parties to spend time, energy and money and involve the public to support their personal stands? -MalaysiaGazette