Shafee Rome Statute Will Affect Rogue Rulers Ag Should Be Honest




Senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is of the view that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would affect rulers who commit offences in their personal capacity, and he urges Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to be honest about it
Shafee said that rulers are subjected to prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) if they committed offences in their own personal capacity and if the AG refuses to prosecute them
"So if we get one state, for instance, State X, (where) the sultan decides to make a speech in the mosque that resulted in a massive riot in that particular state - when a particular set of people, religion, or race is annihilated - are you saying that if you don't proceed, ICC doesn't bite
"Of course, ICC bites..
"If he acts as a ruler, he will not behave this way but if he behaves in a very rogue fashion, he acts in his personal capacity, therefore he is entitled to be prosecuted
"If ICC is to try him because the AG refuses to prosecute, that would mean he is affected," he said
Shafee was present as a member of the audience at a forum discussing about the Rome Statute, involving four panellists namely Thomas, National Human Rights Society Gurdial Singh Nijar, Yayasan Budi chairperson Rais Yatim, and Bar Council member Surendra Ananth in Kuala Lumpur today
He raised the matter during a question-and-answer session with the panellists
Extreme positionsThe prominent lawyer then advised Thomas to engage the rulers and be honest
"Why not you engage with the rulers first? Tell them this is the only way you are affected, but you are only affected if you are a rogue. No sultan will tell you 'I'm objecting', because we said only if you are rogue, that privilege is taken away."Shafee said if the Rome Statute is studied properly, and engagement with the public and rulers is properly made, Putrajaya would have proceeded to sign the treaty
He stressed that Putrajaya and the palace are taking extreme positions in regard to the Rome Statute
"Why do the two sides take extreme positions? The rulers take an extreme position, thinking that they could be trouble but you guys, too, take extreme positions denying that sovereignty is affected
"Sovereignty, for heaven's sake, is affected, but how do you deal?"Shafee also rubbished the claims that it was the Foreign Ministry which initiated the study into Rome Statute
"Suhakam started it. Let me tell you that from 2003 to 2009, we had to persuade the Foreign Ministry to say please consider, because Suhakam thinks it is a good idea to consider, but it was never decided because we hadn't engaged with the public."He said within that period, when he was a Suhakam member, they had studied the Rome Statute and invited certain figures to get their opinions on the matter
"We never went out in the open and said 'let's join Rome", we never did that; (we) studied first, then discussed among ourselves what were the pro and cons," he said, adding that he is not against Rome Statute, but rather just being conscious in the way Putrajaya handles it.  -Mkini

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