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Notice given 11 April 2007

*3109  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—With reference to an edited extract of a speech by Mr Alistair Nicholson QC, former Chief Justice of the Family Court, ‘Our own laws condemn Hicks’ trial’ ( Age , 2 April 2007, p. 11), in which he comments that past actions of the Attorney-General and others in the Government may have constituted a war crime and/or an offence under Division 268 of the schedule of the Criminal Code Act 1995 , will the Australian Federal Police commence proceedings against the Attorney-General and others in the Federal Government for these actions; if not, why not.

*3110  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) Did the Attorney-General receive advice from the Law Council of Australia with respect to the obligations of the Attorney-General under Division 268 of the schedule of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (the Code) with respect to the detention and proposed trial of Mr David Hicks.

(2) Can the Attorney-General confirm that the Code creates the offence of denying a person who is protected by the Geneva Conventions a fair trial, an offence the sentence for which is 10 years imprisonment.

(3) Does the Attorney-General agree with the opinion of Law Council that: (a) (i) Mr Hicks is a person protected by the Conventions; if not, why not, and (ii) did the Government seek alternate legal advice on the matter, if not, why not, if so, what was that advice; (b) both the first and the second military commission established for the purpose of trying Guantanamo Bay detainees could not provide a fair trial; if not, why not; and (c) under the Code, to ‘counsel’ or ‘urge’ another party to conduct a trial that does not meet the mandated standards can constitute a war crime.

(4) In refusing to request the Government of the United States of America (US) to repatriate Mr Hicks and by pressing the US Government to proceed with his trial before the military commission, are the Attorney-General and others members of the Government guilty of a war crime and a crime against Australian law.