Student activists announce forum on Rome Statute, invite TMJ

Student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi speaks to reporters at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi speaks to reporters at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PETALING JAYA, April 16 — A group of student activists announced today a public forum on April 27 meant to clear the air surrounding the confusion on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), following Putrajaya’s withdrawal from it.

At a press conference today, the group said it hopes Tunku Ismail Ibrahim will attend the event in University of Malaya, saying the Johor crown prince’s alleged confusion had aggravated the backlash against the treaty.

“If he wants to come I happily invite him to come,” said Coalition for Academic Freedom’s Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi.

The forum is organised by nine students who had leaked the alleged executive summary of a briefing by four academics to the Conference of Rulers, which then ostensibly led to Putrajaya’s withdrawal.

Two of the four academics, International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s (USIM) law lecturer Fareed Mohd Hassan, who had drafted the paper were invited to be panelists, but they had both declined.

Another two, Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad and USIM law lecturer Hisham Hanapi, have yet to respond to the invitation.

Attorney General Tommy was among those summoned by the Conference of Rulers to explain the treaty. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Attorney General Tommy was among those summoned by the Conference of Rulers to explain the treaty. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

In comparison, Attorney General Tommy Thomas had confirmed his attendance as a panelist.

“We have sent out the invitation last week, and the AG had responded in the same week.

“We will proceed with whoever that will be in the panel if the academicians do not show up. If Mr Tommy himself had refused, it would have been a bad reputation for him,” said Asheeq.

Asheeq said the forum would be a platform for the four academics and the AG to shed on what transpired behind the closed-door meet with the Conference of Rulers and for any confusion on the Rome Statute to be addressed.

“The government must be responsible for the confusion that happened and must address the confusion to the public. The academicians have to explain themselves as well... academic freedom comes with academic accountability.

“The government had also struck fear when ministers talked about coup d’etat and what not, this is improper,” he said.

Rahmat and Thomas were among the four people summoned by the Conference of Rulers to explain the treaty.

In the document leaked last week, the four academics warned the Malay rulers that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may be prosecuted by the ICC as the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.

Prior to the leak, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was forced to bow out due to political pressure from opponents who spread unnecessary fear and confusion in public.

The other eight students involved are Ainina Sofia Adnan, Nurhuda Ramli, Suhail Wan Azahar, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Shahriman, Wong Yan Ke, Chong Kar Yan, Nik Azura Nik Nasron dan Siti Nurizzah Mohd Tazali.