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Australian Government welcomes tenth anniversary of the International Criminal Court.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE HON STEPHEN SMITH MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.attorneygeneral.gov.au

17 July 2008 59/2008

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WELCOMES TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith today welcomed the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Australian Government strongly supports the Rome Statute’s aims of ensuring that those accused of the most serious crimes of international concern do not go unpunished. The ICC provides a permanent forum to address the most egregious of atrocities. In a relatively short period of time, the ICC has established itself as a central institution of international criminal justice.

The Court is currently investigating situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Uganda and the Sudan. It has so far issued twelve warrants for the arrest of people accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Several trials are under preparation by the Court.

In a sign the ICC is continuing its important work, the Court’s Prosecutor has this week requested an arrest warrant be issued against Sudan’s President, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed against the Sudanese people in Darfur. These matters are now before the Court and Australia calls on all parties to respect the Court’s processes.

Mr McClelland said, “Australia attaches the highest importance to the International Criminal Court. Since its existence, all those who commit, encourage or tolerate heinous crimes understand that their actions today may lead to international prosecution tomorrow.”

The Australian Government urges all countries to cooperate with the Court, consistent with their obligations under international law.

“Australia has consistently supported the Court since its establishment. We continue to play an important role in the administration of the ICC, and in the campaign for universal ratification of the Rome Statute, especially in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Smith said.

Media Contact: Adam Sims, Mr McClelland’s office, 0419 480 224 Courtney Hoogen, Mr Smith’s office, 0488 244 901