Written Answers. - Rome Statute.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

216 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if Ireland has ratified the statute on the International Criminal Court; and if Ireland will make "opt out" declarations under Articles 124 and 98. [27059/00]

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, 115 states have signed the Statute and, of these, 22 have ratified it.

An amendment to the Constitution is required to permit the State to ratify the statute and, in this regard, I have asked the chairman of the Government legislation committee to arrange for the draft Bill containing a proposal for such an amendment to be given priority in the Government's legislation programme.

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.

The question of whether a declaration under Article 124 should be made would need to be considered before the State ratifies the statute.

Article 98 does not allow for "opt out declarations", rather it calls for a determination to be made on a case by case basis, should the circumstances envisaged in that Article arise. It would be inappropriate at this time to speculate on the outcome of such determinations but they would at all times respect the integrity of the Rome statute.