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No Australian prosecutor on International Criminal Court.

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Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations

Robert McClelland MP

13 April 2003

No Australian Prosecutor on International Criminal Court

Attorney-General Daryl Williams must explain his failure to secure the appointment of an Australian as Prosecutor on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Earlier this year the Attorney-General’s Department revealed Daryl Williams was personally involved in lobbying for the appointment:

“It has been largely done by face-to-face discussions with [Prince Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Head of the Assembly of State Parties] in New York, and the Attorney-General has also spoken to him about Australia’s wish to have a person considered for the appointment as prosecutor.”

(Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department to a Senate Estimates Committee, 10 February 2003)

Mr Williams’ failure speaks volumes about the Howard Government’s declining reputation in these important international forums, and caps a record of underachievement by the Howard Government on the ICC.

Chaos and division in the Howard Government nearly saw Australia excluded from the first Assembly of State Parties, with the Government finally ratifying the ICC Statute on the last possible day - 1 July 2002 - behind 74 other countries.

Next, the Howard Government failed to nominate an Australian for election as a Judge of the ICC, preferring to take its chances with the Office of the Prosecutor - an exercise which has also ended in failure.

Finally, the Howard Government has been unable to say ‘no’ to requests by the Bush Administration to enter an ‘immunity’ agreement with the United States - which would prevent Australia from surrendering US nationals indicted of serious war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity to the ICC.

This proposed agreement can only undermine the effectiveness of the ICC and provide an excuse for other governments around the world to evade the Court’s jurisdiction.

For further information: Robert McClelland 0408 118 995 Jonathan Kirkwood 0425 231 690