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Int. Criminal Court Considered Over Asylum Issue

SIEV X: Tony Kevin suggests International Criminal Court involvement

Where Do We Go From Here Now?

SIEV X 3rd anniversary and a possible future approach to the International Criminal Court

Where Do We Go From Here Now? reflections and a proposed strategy, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the sinking of SIEV X - website commentary by Tony Kevin, Sunday 17 October 2004.

The 19th of October 2004 is the third anniversary of the sinking in 2001 of the overloaded 9.5 metre asylum-seeker boat SIEV X, with the loss of 353 lives mostly women and children, in Australia's maritime border protection zone of military operations between Indonesia's Sunda Strait and Australia's Christmas Island.

Even today, boat people asylum-seekers' lives, and the lives of their families and friends in Australia, are still being cruelly and cynically manipulated by the Howard Government. The Australian Government's disruption program apparatus in Indonesia is all still in place.

Thus, future crimes against humanity on the precedent of SIEV X are entirely feasible, if the tragic SIEV X history is not properly judicially addressed by Australia.

Unless he now sets up a genuine full-powers independent judicial enquiry into the Australian Government's upstream people smuggling disruption program in Indonesia and the sinking of SIEV X, as the Australian Senate has demanded no less than four times in the past three years, Prime Minister John Howard can have no credible defence against an appeal by an eminent group of Australians of conscience to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to open a proprio motu (i.e, on his own initiative) file on this disruption program and the sinking of SIEV X.

Until now, the Australian police and judicial authorities have failed in their clear duty to investigate properly this serious potential crime against humanity, of the deaths of 353 persons who had come under the Australian Government's duty of care when their unseaworthy boat entered Australia's Operation Relex zone, and by reason of the nature of thye Australian disruption program's methods of operation in Indonesia.

There is already sufficient public-record evidence, set out in my book A Certain Maritime Incident (Scribe Books, August 2004) and compiled on Marg Hutton's, to provide the basis for such a file to be opened at the ICC, under the Prosecutor's independent powers under Article 15 of the ICC Statute to initiate an investigation proprio motu (i.e., of his own initiative) of a suspected crime against humanity as defined by Article 7 of the ICC Statute.

There is no doubt in my mind that, if even half of the questions asked in my book and on prove to be admissible questions as judged by the rules and standards of courtroom evidence, Article 7 will be applicable to the case. As evidence continues to accummulate, Mr Howard could eventually find his command responsibility, as head of Australia's government at the time of the sinking of SIEV X and the deaths by drowning of 353 of its 397 passengers, in judicial question.

Jurisdiction is established by the fact that Australia signed the ICC Statute in 1998, ratified it in 2002, and that the Australian people smuggling disruption program has been an ongoing Australian Government activity at least since 2000. Unlike Australian criminal law, the ICC Statute has no geographical limits of jurisdiction as to where deaths may occur as a result of any crimes against humanity. This international judicial door may now be opening.

----------------- Not a Given -----------------

"Not a Given" book review of 'A Certain Maritime Incident' by Damien Kingsbury, Australian Book Review, October 2004. (With thanks to the Australian Book Review)

"The case, as Kevin points out throughout the text, is that, at very best, Australian authorities knew about the launching of an unreliable and dangerously overcrowded boat full of asylum-seekers, they were aware that it sank and they did nothing about it. It seems almost certain that senior ministers, including the prime minister, knew this at the time. Yet, at every step of the process of uncovering what happened, ministers gave information they clearly knew was not true, in particular about the precise location of the sinking. This is critical ...." (Damien Kingsbury)

© Scoop Media

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