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International Criminal Court Bill delays strongly criticised

9 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has strongly criticised the length of time it has taken the International Criminal Court Bill to proceed through the Dáil, accusing the Government of negligence and of allowing human rights abusers to operate with impunity. Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his remarks as the Bill came before the Dáil for its final stage today.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Fein welcomed the International Criminal Court Bill from day one and believes it is unacceptable that it has taken so long to be brought to completion. The state signed up to the Rome Statute in 1998. The Irish people directly endorsed the International Criminal Court in a referendum in 2001 yet this Bill is still only reaching report stage now in mid-2006. Obviously it has not been a priority of this government despite its gravity and importance for the protection of human rights internationally. This negligence has been totally inappropriate and a source of embarrassment for this state.

"Perhaps this Bill has been delayed because establishing domestic jurisdiction for ICC Offences and providing for the arrest and surrenders of persons and the enforcement of sentences for committing ICC offences would place a number of current government Ministers in a vulnerable position on foot of their complicity in the US-led war on Iraq and in extraordinary rendition. Not to mention the facilitation of the Israeli military who were allowed to avail of Shannon airport and the Great Southern Hotel yet again last weekend despite their ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and grave human rights crimes against the Palestinian people

"The purpose of the International Criminal Court is to bring an end to the reality of human rights abusers acting with impunity. Neither Israel nor the US are willing to be held accountable by the ICC for any of their actions. And by accepting US assurances in relation to the extraordinary rendition programme without question and refusing to suspend preferential trade with Israel -- this government is effectively endorsing the impunity with which these two highly abusive administrations act." ENDS

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