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Wednesday, 15 March 2000
Page: 12939

Senator Bourne asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 14 January 2000:

(1) What progress has been made towards the Australian Government ratifying the statute of an international criminal court.

(2) (a) If there is a commitment to ratifying the statute, what steps have been taken to speed up the process; and (b) if not, what are the obstacles to ratification.

Senator Hill (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —According to records held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) On 12 December 1999, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Attorney-General issued a joint media release, announcing that the Government had decided to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court. As announced in the media release, the Attorney-General is now moving to introduce legislation necessary to reflect Australia's commitment to the Statute.

(2) Prior to Australia depositing its instrument of ratification, all domestic procedures necessary to bring the Statute into force under Australian domestic law, including passing implementing legislation, must first be concluded. This process is currently underway. Furthermore, prior to ratification, the Statute will once again be tabled in both houses of Parliament and subjected to the scrutiny of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (the Statute was first tabled in 1998 prior to Australia signing the Statute).