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Veil Of Secrecy For International Crimes Bill


MEDIA RELEASE

30 June 2000

Graham Capill
Party Leader


VEIL OF SECRECY OMINOUS FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMES AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT BILL 2000

Party Leader Graham Capill has criticised the Government for failing to publicise aspects of the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Bill. Submissions close today (30 June 2000).

Mr Capill said, “This Bill has radical consequences for our criminal justice system; something many New Zealanders sought to reform in last year’s referendum. That the Government should introduce a Bill of 209 pages and only give the public one month to make submissions, is of great concern and should raise the suspicions of every thinking person.

“The Bill is clearly an attempt to satisfy United Nation treaty obligations which would see our justice system increasingly controlled by “off-shore” international bodies. This has nothing to do with what voters wanted when they supported the Norm Withers CIR. In fact, these reforms could undermine domestic initiative to reform our justice system.

While the International Criminal Court may be appropriate for war crimes and gross crimes against humanity, it should not take precedence over the local criminal justice system dealing with domestic crimes such as murder or crimes of discrimination (whatever they may include). To do so is to undermine our sovereignty; something the Labour Party has been concerned to avoid economically and in trade policy,” Mr Capill said.

The Bill seeks to put into law domestic procedures to implement certain articles of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; procedures needed to enable New Zealand to ratify it. In March 2000 the Government announced that it had agreed, in principle, to ratify it. Currently the Rome statute has 96 signatories but only eight countries have completed ratification. It will come into effect after it has been ratified by 60 states.

“The Government has researchers and funding to examine the effect such legislation will have on our justice system. Ordinary citizens cannot be expected to evaluate such Bills in a few weeks. What is the Government hiding by not publicising it and giving such a short time to scrutinize the Bill?” Mr Capill asked.

Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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