Wisma Putra defends PM's decision to withdraw from Rome Statute


PETALING JAYA: The Foreign Ministry has defended the Prime Minister in the decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Its Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the ICC matter involved two issues - the legal and the Cabinet process in deciding the matter during its meetings.

In terms of legality, the Cabinet believes that ratifying the ICC was the right move as it would further strengthen Malaysia's beliefs in  upholding justice in the international platform as well as its benefits to the nation, said Saifuddin.

"The  monarch is also protected by the Federal Constitution," he said in a statement on Friday (April 5).

Saifuddin said the Cabinet had agreed to sign the international treaty as it was constitutional to do so.

"As such, the Cabinet had followed the right processes in ratifying the Rome Statute and it need not go through Parliament."

Saifuddin said that there have been hundreds of treaties and international conventions ratified without having to go through Parliament.

"This matter does not need to be referred to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Conference of Rulers as it does not involve matters pertaining to the Constitution.

"However, it is rather unfortunate that there are some parties that misinterpreted the Statute and ignored facts and rational arguments," he said.

Saifuddin also said some parties played with the sentiments of the people and caused confusion and fear merely to achieve their political aims.

"This is also done with the intention to topple the Pakatan Harapan government and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister.

"Pakatan will continue to uphold the constitutional monarchy and defend the Federal Constitution," he said.

Earlier on Friday, Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia will withdraw from ratifying the international treaty that covers serious crimes and crimes against humanity.

Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet has decided not to ratify the Rome Statute, which would prosecute perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Rome Statute, so we will not accede,” Dr Mahathir told a press conference.

“This is not because we are against it, but because of the political confusion about what it entails, caused by people with vested interests,” he added. 

The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court, with the objective of ending impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

Dubbed the "court of last resort," ICC takes action against individuals when a government is unwilling or unable to prosecute on any of those four crimes.