Defend credibility, integrity by showing up at Rome Statute forum, academics told

The forum on the Rome Statute 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. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
The forum on the Rome Statute 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. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — A group of academics have urged their four fellows to show up at a forum on the Rome Statute, after the latter’s presentation to the Malay Rulers eventually led to Putrajaya withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty.

In a statement, Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) accused the four of dodging their critics, when they should have been prepared to defend the credibility and integrity of their work in public.

“In this regard, Gerak, as an academic organisation concerned about academic integrity and accountability, calls upon the four academics above, all from public universities funded by Malaysian taxpayers, to come and speak at this public forum, to debate their stand.

“Academics, like other professionals must defend the credibility and integrity of their work. Academic reputations — not only individual but also institutional — must be earned and upheld,” it said.

The group said since the executive summary of the four’s presentation was leaked by nine student activists, the contents have been scrutinised and publicly critiqued by other academics, lawyers, and even the students.

But the four — Universiti Teknologi Mara deputy vice-chancellor and law professor Datuk Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University Malaysia law associate professor Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia law lecturers, Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi — have yet to counter these criticisms.

“Indeed, they have been as quiet as church mice in the public domain. Two have since declined — and the other two have not responded to — invitations to speak at a public forum on the Rome Statute, convened by a number of civil society and academic organisations, including Gerak,” it said.

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.

It will be held on 9.30am on April 27 in the Tun Suffian Auditorium in the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Law.

The organisers have since dismissed claim that its forum is allegedly biased for not featuring panellists who dissented, saying it will only reserve the spot for the four academics who snubbed the event.