Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.

Willie Penrose

Question:

45 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the timescale for the Government's ratification of the Rome Statute in relation to the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3745/02]

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, subject to ratification, on 7 October 1998.

Before Ireland can ratify the Rome Statute, it is necessary that implementing legislation be enacted to give effect to its provisions in Irish law. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform stated in a reply to parliamentary Question No. 920 of 30 January that implementing legislation was currently being prepared by his Department and that he expected that legislative proposals would be ready for submission to Government relatively soon. Once this legislation is prepared, it must be put before the Oireachtas and, when passed by both Houses be signed into law by the President.

When the implementing legislation is enacted, the remaining requirements for Ireland's ratification of the Rome Statute can be completed promptly. A resolution approving the terms of the Rome Statute should be placed before Dáil Éireann, in accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution, and when this is passed, the Government can arrange the deposit of Ireland's instrument of ratification with the Secretary Gen eral of the United Nations, in accordance with Article 125 of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute will come into force for Ireland 60 days after this.
As the Deputy will be aware, the proposal to amend the Constitution to allow the State to ratify the Rome Statute was approved by the majority of voters in a referendum held last June. As a referendum petition challenging the outcome of the referendum is currently under appeal to the Supreme Court, the Bill amending the Constitution has not yet been signed into law by the President. It is understood that the appeal will be heard next week.