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Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 217. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  his views on the fact that the proper establishment of the International Criminal Court will be grievously undermined by any bilateral agreement under Article 98 of the Rome Statute, which will immunise the other state's citizens from the ICC, creating a situation of impunity for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. [24616/02]

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 218. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  the steps he will take to protect the integrity of the International Criminal Court by ensuring that the EU adopts a strong response rejecting demands for so-called impunity agreements, or bilateral agreements under Article 98 of the Rome Statute. [24617/02]

 219. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some EU member and candidate states are using the EU's current ambivalent position on impunity agreements under Article 98 of the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court as an excuse to enter into these illegal agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24618/02]

 220. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if his attention has been drawn to the grave concerns raised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding the EU's failure to take effective steps to prevent members from signing impunity agreements under Article 98 of the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24619/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 to 220, inclusive, together.

Ireland ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in April 2002 following a referendum to amend the Constitution. We remain fully committed to the court, in line with our political and legal obligations as a State Party to the Statute and under the EU Common Position of June 2002.

I am aware of the positions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in relation to bilateral agreements under Article 98.2 of the Rome Statute. These organisations are in regular contact with officials of my Department and maintain an ongoing and useful dialogue with EU member states on the International Criminal Court.

The Government sees no prohibition within the Rome Statute itself to the adoption of certain types of bilateral agreement under Article 98.2 of the Statute provided that these are consistent with our legal and political obligations. In September 2002 the EU Council of Ministers agreed on guiding principles on what should be included in an agreement to be consistent with the Rome Statute and the existing EU Common Position. According to these guiding principles, any agreement should ensure that credible allegations are investigated and prosecuted, should cover only non-nationals of an ICC State Party and should cover only persons sent abroad in an official capacity by a State. These principles are designed to protect the integrity of the International Criminal Court and to offer clear guidance on the issue to EU Member states, to candidate countries and to other States Parties to the Rome Statute.


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