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Catholic Social Justice Council speaks up for International Criminal Court

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has voiced its "strong support" for an International Criminal Court, and urged all Members of Parliament to work towards Australia's ratification of the Rome Statute.

"The International Criminal Court will be an important tool for the protection of human rights," said Bishop Christopher Saunders, the Council's Deputy Chairman. "We are proud of the leading role that Australia's representatives have played in the development of the Statute."

Bishop Saunders, disappointed at the Australian Government's faltering resolve to support the Court, said the Social Justice Council had hoped Australia would be among the first nations not only to sign the Statute, but to take the further step of ratifying it and making it a binding part of our domestic law.

"Too often in our life time we have seen the need for an impartial international criminal tribunal to try crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity," he said. "Local authorities are not always willing or able to do so effectively."

Bishop Saunders explained that some crimes are "so serious that they are genuinely the concern of the whole of humanity and require an international response".

"There are also times when the exercise of national jurisdiction may not be the most effective way of doing justice. Even the mere perception of bias, or of the imposition of 'victor's justice', can feed bitterness that promotes further atrocities rather than healing and peace."



19 Jun 2002