PETALING JAYA: The four academics who advised the Rulers to reject the Rome Statute should debate arguments openly in an upcoming forum on the international treaty this Saturday (April 27), says The National Patriots Association.
"If they are brave to present an executive summary (to the Rulers) in private, then they should be brave enough to debate openly about what they wrote," said its president Brig-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji.
Mohamed Arshad also expressed disappointment at the four academics' silence on their participation in the forum on the Rome Statute, which was organised by student activist group Coalition for Academic Freedom.
The four academics, Mohamed Arshad said, should present their stand on the matter and defend their academic integrity and accountability.
"Patriot would like to see the public to be fully engaged in the discourse in the discourse on this issue. It is a healthy development development towards a caring, informed civil society, on important issues at home and abroad.
"Patriot is proud to be a part and endorse the public forum 'Malaysia & the Rome Statute' on April 27."
The forum will start at 9.30am on April 27 at the Tun Suffian Auditorium in Universiti Malaya's Law Faculty.
The forum was organised by the group of student activists who leaked a 10-page executive summary prepared by four academics that was presented to the Conference of Rulers on April 2.
The four academics are Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) law professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia law lecturers Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan, and Hisham Hanapi.
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.
Meanwhile, Patriot committee member Lt Col (Rtd) Ahmad Ghazali Abu Hassan challenged the four academics to participate in the forum, or it would appear that their actions were politically motivated and maliciously intended.
"If they believe that the content of their memo (executive summary) was the truth and it is the outcome of their best and sincere academic research, then they should explain it to the public and defend their findings.
"This is what they owe to all Malaysians in general and the academic community in particular.
Ahmad Ghazali said that the executive summary by the four academics had caused uneasiness among Malaysians and forced the government to withdrew from acceding to the international treaty.
According to Ahmad Ghazali, the act to wilfully and maliciously deceive the Rulers was tantamount to an act of treason.
It was reported on April 5 that Malaysia would withdraw from ratifying the international treaty that covers serious crimes and crimes against humanity.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Cabinet had decided not to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which governs the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based international criminal court, and its objective is to end the impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes known to the international community.
It was established in 2002 and is governed by the Rome Statute.
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.
The ICC's powers are limited to only those four crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression and it only prosecutes individuals, not groups or countries.
The ICC usually only exercises jurisdiction over these crimes if committed by citizens of a country that had acceded or were within that country – unless the UN Security Council refers a situation to the ICC or when a country declares that it accepts the ICC's jurisdiction.
As of March 18, there were 122 countries that are party to the Rome Statute.
Some countries that have not acceded to the statute include the United States, China, Russia and India.