Dáil Éireann - Volume 526 - 28 November, 2000
Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe Mr. J. O'Keeffe
62. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether Ireland should be giving a lead in ratifying the statute to set up  the International Criminal Court to outlaw genocide and war crimes; and his further views on the fact that it is over two years since agreement was concluded in Rome to set up the court; the reason the necessary preparatory work has not been completed; and when he expects the necessary legislation and constitutional proposals to be circulated. [27468/00]
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
64. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he will hold the promised referendum to allow Ireland to ratify the International Criminal Court; and the reason a constitutional amendment rather than legislation is necessary. [25594/00]
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
66. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he will publish the Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution (No 6) Bill to provide for a referendum to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27561/00]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62, 64 and 66 together.
The Statute of the International Criminal Court was concluded at Rome on 17 July 1998 and was signed, subject to ratification, by Ireland on 7 October 1998. It will enter into force approximately two months after 60 states have become party to it. My information is that, to date, 115 states have signed the statute and, of these, 22 have ratified it.
At the internal level, the preparatory commission established at the Rome Conference completed its work on elements of crimes and on rules of procedure and evidence on 30 June 2000, the target set for it by the conference. The commission continues to meet to work on the items remaining on its agenda, namely a relationship agreement between the court and the United Nations, basic principles governing a relationship agreement between the court and the host country, the crime of aggression, financial regulations and rules, and an agreement on privileges and immunities. Ireland continues to be represented at these important meetings.
The Government has been advised by the Attorney General that an amendment to the Constitution is required before the State may ratify the statute. The Government has accordingly authorised the drafting of a Bill containing a proposal to amend the Constitution and, in this regard, I have asked the Chairman of the Government Legislation Committee to arrange for the draft Bill to be given priority in the Government's current legislation programme.
In connection with the actual ratification process itself, apart from the need to amend the Constitution, an indepth analysis of the statute by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform together with my Department, the Office of the Attorney General and other appropriate bodies  is also necessary to determine the exact legislative and administrative measures which may need to be adopted in order for Ireland to be in a position to meet its obligations under this very complex statute.
Ireland and all other member states of the European Union have committed themselves to take whatever measures are required within their respective domestic legal systems to enable them to ratify the statute expeditiously. In addition, they have called on all States to sign and ratify the statute as a matter of priority so that its entry into force can be secured at an early date. I am not in a position at this point to state definitively how long this process might take, but I can assure the Deputies that the timely ratification and entry into force of the statute will continue to be given a high priority by my Department.
Dáil Éireann 526 Written Answers. International Criminal Court.