Malaysian Bar urges government to ratify Rome Statute without delay

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 – The Malaysian Bar has repeated its call to the Malaysian government to ratify the Rome Statute.

In a press statement released Friday, Malaysian Bar President AG Kalidas, pointing out that the Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”); the first permanent and independent international court empowered to bring to justice those accused of some of the most atrocious crimes — war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression, said Malaysia should acede to and ratify the treaty without any further delay.

“The International Justice Day — which is observed on 17 July annually — marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute on 17 July 1998.  It is an important date that unites everyone — irrespective of nationality or background — to stand together to strengthen the rule of law, and to highlight the international crimes that threaten to upend peace and security around the world.”

On March 4, 2019, Malaysia had ratified the Rome Statute treaty, but one month down the road, the government decided to rescind its membership.

The withdrawal was announced by the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad following a Cabinet decision to pull Malaysia out of the treaty.

He said the move to ratify the treaty had created confusion among Malaysians, particularly on the special status of the Malays and attributed political tensions as reasons for pulling out of the treaty.

In his statement Friday, AG Kalidas said ratifying the Rome Statute would demonstrate that Malaysia is committed to ensuring that perpetrators of crimes will not be given impunity. 

“The ongoing dispute in Israel and Palestine has garnered much attention from our citizens and the Government, resulting in an outpouring of support and sympathy towards the victims of this crisis.  The worsening civil conflict in Myanmar and the alleged mistreatment of civilians and Rohingya is also a major cause for concern for the international community.  We must therefore put our faith in the ICC — an international institution that calls the perpetrators of such heinous behaviour to account.  The ICC is clothed with the legal authority to handle abuses of humanitarian and human rights that occur around the world.

“The Malaysian Bar has always been an ardent supporter of our accession to international human rights instruments as well as their optional protocols.  We will continue to advocate Malaysia’s accession and ratification to these instruments in order to promote international peace and stability.”