Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

248 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he will take towards the ratification of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. [19263/00]

Alan Shatter

Question:

250 Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps necessary in order to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court; and if he will take such steps as are required to ensure that the statute will be ratified in 2000. [19278/00]

John Perry

Question:

251 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps that are necessary in order to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court; if he will ensure it will be ratified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19382/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 248, 250 and 251 together.

The Statute of the International Criminal Court was concluded at Rome on 17 July 1998 and was signed, subject to ratification, by Ireland on 7 October 1998. It will enter into force approximately two months after 60 states have become party to it. My information is that, to date, 112 states have signed the statute and, of these, 20 have ratified it.

With regard to enabling Ireland to ratify the statute, I understand that an amendment to the Constitution will be required and that the drafting of a Bill containing a proposal for such an amendment is now in progress.

In connection with the actual ratification process itself, apart from the need to amend the Constitution and, therefore, the need for a referendum approving such an amendment, an in-depth analysis of the statute by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform together with my Department, the Office of the Attorney General and other appropriate bodies will also be necessary to determine the exact legislative and administrative measures which may need to be adopted in order for Ireland to be in a position to meet its obligations under the Statute.

Ireland continues to be represented at all of the ongoing preparatory commission meetings of the ICC whose purpose is to deal with matters necessary for the effective operation of the court when the statute enters into force. While I am currently not in a position to give a precise indication as to the time frame within which all the necessary measures will be adopted, I can assure the Deputy that the prompt ratification of the statute will continue to be given a high priority by my Department.