Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.

Proinsias De Rossa

Question:

199 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court will be ratified which makes clear that official capacity and immunities shall not be a bar to the exercise of the court's jurisdiction, particularly in view of the issues raised by the application to extradite General Pinochet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1366/99]

Sixty States must ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted at Rome in July 1997, before it can come into effect. Over 70 countries, including Ireland, have already signed the Rome statute. As the Deputy points out in his question, the Statue includes a provision which states that official capacity and immunities shall not be a bar to the exercise of the court's jurisdiction. I agree that this is an important and welcome provision.

With regard to ratification, it must be borne in mind that the Rome statute is a long and complex document which includes 13 parts and 128 articles in respect of which no reservation is permitted. As a first step, these will require careful and detailed consideration in order to determine the nature and scope of the legal and administrative measures which may need to be adopted in order for the State to be in a position to meet its obli gations under the statute. The State may proceed to ratify the statute only when all the necessary legal and administrative measures have been put in place.
I am not in a position at this point to say how long this process might take, but I can assure the Deputy that it will be given a high priority.