THE group of four academics who advised the Conference of Rulers and convinced them to reject the Rome Statute should be allowed to answer any allegations, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“Let our academics answer, okay?” said the Port Dickson MP in the wake of the government’s decision not to ratify the international treaty that seeks to prosecute those guilty of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
The academics are Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) law professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University Malaysia’s Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia law lecturers Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.
They have kept mum after a group of student activists leaked their 10-page executive summary that was presented to the Conference of Rulers on April 2.
The four are expected to break their silence at the “Forum Wacana Ilmu Statute Rom” moderated by Datuk Dr Zainal Kling at UiTM on April 30.
The PKR president described the upcoming forum as a healthy platform to discuss the issue at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Former higher education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the four academics should be appreciated and not condemned for their views.
He said they were expressing their academic opinions.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, the Besut MP said it would be inconsistent to chastise the four academics simply because their views were not in line with the government’s stand on the matter.
“When they are supporting the government, they are good. But when they are a little critical, then it’s not good,” he said.
The student activists claimed that the arguments in the summary were one-sided and only discussed why the Conference of Rulers should reject the Rome Statute governing the International Criminal Court.
The group also started a petition in support of the Rome Statute as protection for the rakyat, adding that the sovereignty of the Rulers would not be compromised, which is what constitutional experts have also argued.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government had been forced to withdraw from the Rome Statute following “confusion created by those with political interests”.
Civil society groups have also condemned those who opposed the ratification of the Rome Statute, which looks at serious crimes committed by individuals whom their governments are unwilling or unable to prosecute.