The Fiji Labour Party is seriously concerned about the Government’s intention to enter into a bilateral agreement with the United States in respect of a number of issues arising under the Rome Statute, which establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Fiji is a State Party to the Rome Statute, having ratified it in 1999. The United States is not a party to the Statute, nor does it recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over its citizens.
The International Criminal Court has the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes affecting the entire international community, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Labour Party spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Gyani Nand said if the agreement between Fiji and the United States proceeds, the effect would be that neither Fiji nor the United States would give up each other’s citizens who are accused of crimes of international concern as mentioned above, to the ICC although Fiji being a State Party is required to comply under Article 98 of the Rome Statute. This would effectively mean that the jurisdiction of the ICC with respect to Fiji would be undermined. More importantly, if Fiji does enter into such an agreement with the US, it would mean that as a State Party to the Rome Statute, it would be reneging its obligations under the Statute. This would also have further serious implications as regards Fiji’s credibility as a member of the United Nations, and the international community at large.
It is understood that the proposed agreement with the US is linked to US military assistance to Fiji, including Fiji’s participation in the US sponsored peace-keeping missions, and the one currently being discussed for Iraq.
The Fiji Labour Party asks the Government to inform the nation clearly of its position regarding the US overtures for Fiji to enter into such an agreement. The Party has also been asking the Government to bring the draft of any such proposals before the Parliament so that there are full and comprehensive debates on such issues and the nation is fully informed about them.
FLP Spokesperson-Foreign Affairs