ICC unable to act on Sri Lankan matters

Tuesday, 19 July 2011 00:55 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The head of the International Criminal Court (ICC) President Sang – Hyun Song has stated the court is unable to act on matters relating to non-signatory states of the Rome Statute such as Sri Lanka, Israel and the United States.

In an interview with The Australian, President Song said one of the most glaring omissions with regard to the powers of the ICC is its inability to deal with acts of international terrorism by non-state parties.

Another omission is the inability to act on the alleged abuses by the Sri Lankan military during the final stages of the country’s war against terrorism. Both of these matters are beyond the limited jurisdiction of the ICC, he said.

The court covers just 4 areas; genocide, war crimes, aggression and crimes against humanity. There had been an attempt to include terrorism but it had not yet succeeded, President Song said.

When asked if he would like to see terrorism brought within the court’s reach, he declined to express a view because he said, it was a matter for “the assembly of state parties”, not the court. Questioned on the final days of the Sri Lankan war against terror, he said that Sri Lanka, along with Israel and US has not acceded to the Rome Statute. So, without reference to the court by the UN Security Council the ICC was unable to act.

President Song was speaking to The Australian during a break in the Commonwealth Law Ministers’ Meeting in Sydney. He also said the ICC can generally deal only with matters that have endorsed the Rome Statute. And even then it can only step in if national legal systems are unwilling or unable to act.

“The ICC, under any circumstances will not and cannot and should not just jump over the national boundary of sovereign states and stir around the normally functioning judicial system of sovereign states,” President Song said. (www.info.gov.lk)