Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Rome Statute: Another PH Screw-up

In Malaysia, we have underhanded politicians who are happy to spread their pernicious nonsense – and worse, these venomous, virulent and vicious malcontents persist in seeing everything through race and religion-tinted spectacles. 

So, when they decided to object to the fact that Malaysia signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on March 04, 2019 – they argued that signing it means Malay rights are compromised and the position of the sultans and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong are threatened. 

Then four academics sneaked up to the Conference of Rulers on April 02 to present a memorandum that informed them that accession to the treaty would make the Agong liable to prosecution at the International Criminal Court in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces – which stoked fear among the royals. 

The smart-ass scholars had deviously argued that the King's role is not simply symbolic or ceremonial – and instead fulfills the Statute’s Article 28(a) as a military commander with 'effective command and control'. 

The assertion was made despite Wisma Putra’s clarification to the King that he cannot be held responsible for the four core international crimes covered by the statute – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression – as the legal responsibility lies with the prime minister and the Cabinet. 

The foursome who had purportedly prepared the report were Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi. 

Three days later, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (left) announced that Malaysia was withdrawing ratification of the treaty, citing political pressure. 

The man who has been called a dictator in the past admitted that he had to back down because critics of the Rome Statute were attempting to work up the monarchy against the PH government and cause civil unrest. Unbelievable but true! 

Mahathir said the “political move” was orchestrated by some groups, adding: “Of course, some members of the royal family also may be involved, but the whole idea is to get the royalty in Malaysia to go against this government. That is the motive. But because of this confusion, and the confusion also among the rulers, we have made a decision that we will not recognize the Statute of Rome”. 

It was then that nine student activists banded together to leak the memo – they said they had released the document to encourage a debate about the Rome Statute and in support of their petition to the federal government to proceed with ratification of the treaty. 

Obviously, the mischief-makers had triumphed and once again, the helpless PH government backed down. 

I am appalled with Putrajaya’s failure to maintain a firm position to the questions of human rights and humanity, and instead capitulate to the demands of vested interests which possess ulterior motives. PH have failed yet again!

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