HRW: Malaysia will face difficulty voicing concerns if not part of ICC

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will have a much more difficult time raising key foreign policy issues that they are concerned about, if they are not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Human Rights Watch.

Its Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said this included the atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar and the situation in Yemen or Palestine.

“By not being a member of the ICC, Malaysia’s voice is weakened in dealing with these issues,” he said on Tuesday (May 8), in a joint press conference with Amnesty International Malaysia on Pakatan Harapan’s reform agenda after one year.

Robertson said that Malaysia’s decision to accede from the Rome Statute which governs the ICC had baffled those in the United Nations, as there had never been a government that acceded to it and withdrew so quickly.

“The UN lawyers are working overtime to figure out what’s going on.

"This is a problem because Malaysia garnered a great deal of support for doing that and turned around and withdrew so quickly that people didn’t know what to make of this.

“It made Malaysia a bit of a laughing stock that they moved so quickly and pulled back,” he added.

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 formed 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.

Wisma Putra said on Tuesday that the UN would be removing Malaysia from the list of signatories of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This follows Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement on April 5 that Malaysia would not ratify the treaty.

The government issued a withdrawal letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on April 29.

Wisma Putra said Malaysia would be removed from the list after the UN completed the necessary procedures.


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