Malaysia becomes 124th member of International Criminal Court (ICC) after ratifying Rome Statute

Published: March 8, 2019

Malaysia has become the 124th member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after ratifying the Rome Statute. It joined the ICC because of the following reasons: Firstly, the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine and the Rohingya crisis. Secondly, the May 2018 election of Mahathir Mohamad for his 2nd stint as Prime Minister has brought a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy. Thirdly, the election of Mahathir and appointment of a new Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, has seen the main legal obstacles to ratification removed. Finally, Malaysia’s decision to ratify the Rome Statute has also been driven by Mahathir’s stated ambition to see his country “play a more active role” in ASEAN and the United Nations. Hence, it is third country of the 10 member states of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), to ratify Rome Statute after Cambodia and Philippines. However, Philippines has announced its withdrawal from the ICC and it is set to take effect from 19th March 2019. Earlier, Burundi became the first country to quit the court in 2017.

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