Student activists launch petition on Rome Statute, seeking justice for MH17 victims

Nine students launched a petition to urge the government to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute for the sake of those whose lives were lost in the MH17 tragedy. — Screenshot taken from www.change.org
Nine students launched a petition to urge the government to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute for the sake of those whose lives were lost in the MH17 tragedy. — Screenshot taken from www.change.org

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — An online petition has been launched to urge the government to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute for the sake of those whose lives were lost in the MH17 tragedy.

The petition was created by the same group of nine students who had exposed the alleged executive summary of a briefing by four academics to the Conference of Rulers, which led to the government’s decision to renounce the ratification of the statute last week.

They are Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, Ainina Sofia Adnan Nurhuda Binti Ramli, Suhail Wan Azahar, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Shahriman, Wong Yan Ke, Chong Kar Yan, Nik Azura Nik Nasron and Siti Nurizzah Mohd Tazali.

The petition said the alleged perpetrators of the tragedy could not be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of Malaysia’s status as a non-signatory country.

“We implore the Conference of Rulers and the Malaysian government to allow Malaysia’s ratification of the Rome Statute.

“We are also urging certain parties with evil intentions to stop their manipulation of the international criminal justice system,” said the petition on Change.org.

Malaysia Airlines Berhad’s MH17 was shot down over territory held by pro-Russian separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

All 298 people on board were killed.

The petition that was launched on Saturday has garnered more than 2,800 votes as of 5.30pm today.

It also sought to clear the air over several misconceptions that arose earlier this week after Putrajaya was forced to withdraw the ratification following political pressure.

“Will Malaysians be afraid of our Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) being prosecuted by the ICC?

“The answer is No! Malaysia has no history of crimes against humanity such as the killing and violence perpetrated against ethnic Rohingyas that is currently taking place,” the petition read, referring to the ethnic violence in Myanmar.

The petition said even if such crimes were to take place in Malaysia, the role of the YDPA will be untouched as enshrined under Article 40 of the Federal Constitution which provides that the YDPA is a constitutional monarch.

“In the exercise of his functions, he shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet. He (YDPA) is not authorised to wage wars,” it added.

Amongst the signatories are countries practising constitutional monarchy system Belgium, Cambodia, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Samoa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

“We, nine youngsters ask and urge Malaysians to stand together with us in our struggle to uphold justice for the victims of MH 17 before more lives are persecuted and sacrificed,” the students said.

On Sunday, the nine student activists who leaked the paper had claimed that the executive summary was presented to the Conference of Rulers on April 2.

In the document, the four academics warned the Malay rulers that the YDPA may be prosecuted by the ICC as the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.

The paper was purportedly prepared by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

On Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was forced to bow to political pressure from opponents who spread unnecessary fear and confusion.

He also said critics of the Rome Statute wanted to trigger a row between the country’s monarchy and the new government.

As of March 4, 2019, a total of 124 countries have become signatories of the Rome Statute. 

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