Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 31 May 2000
Page: 16789


Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 4 April 2000:

(1) What is the effect of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

(2) When did Australia sign the Rome Statute.

(3) Has Australia ratified the Rome Statute.

(4) How many countries have ratified the Rome Statute, and which countries are they.

(5) How many countries are required to ratify the Rome Statute before it enters into force.

(6) What is the reason for the delay in Australia ratifying the Rome Statute.


Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —According to records held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Statute of the International Criminal Court, when it enters into force, will establish the International Criminal Court as an international organisation with legal personality based in The Hague. The Statute provides for an Assembly of States Parties to meet following its entry into force to approve the necessary administrative arrangements for the Court's functioning and to bring the Court into relationship with the United Nations. The Court, once established, will be a permanent international tribunal to investigate and prosecute allegations of crimes of most serious concern to the international community (ie, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression) that have not been, or are not being, legitimately investigated or prosecuted by a national jurisdiction. The Court will only have jurisdiction over the crimes specif1ed in the Statute, and then only if committed by a national or on the territory of a State Party or of a State specifically accepting the jurisdiction of the Court over the crime in question. Under the Statute, the Court may exercise jurisdiction when a matter is referred to the Prosecutor or by a State Party, or the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, or through the initiation of an investigation by the Prosecutor. A fundamental aspect of the jurisdictional regime in the Statute is that the Court shall be complementary to national jurisdictions. This means that, even if the Court has jurisdiction over a case, the case is only admissible if the case is not being or has not been legitimately investigated by a national jurisdiction.

(2) 9 December 1998.

(3) No.

(4) Nine: Belize, Fiji, Ghana, Italy, Norway, San Marino, Senegal, Tajikistan and Trinidad and Tobago.

(5) Sixty.

(6) The Government announced on 12 December 1999 that Australia would ratify the Statute. Before this action can occur, implementing legislation must first be in place. Given the complexity of the Statute, and the seriousness of the obligations Australia will be assuming upon ratification, a very deliberate and consultative process is being undertaken in the development of this legislation. The intention of the Government is, however, to ratify the Statute as soon as practicable.