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Australian Ministers flouting the laws of war

Peter Vickery QC, is special rapporteur for the International Commission of Jurists, Victoria.

He puts forward the proposition in this op-ed piece in The Age that Ministers in the Howard Government may well have breached international law in their handling [or non-handling] of the Hicks matter:

"Davis Hicks has been accused of some ill-defined war crimes. But is he the victim of a policy promoted by the Australian Government that is itself a war crime?

In September last year Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said: "We have been pressing the American Government to get on with the trial of Mr Hicks." He has frequently repeated this view, and Prime Minister John Howard and other ministers have also expressed it.

This stance would not only fail the "fair go" section of any proposed citizenship test, it also ignores our commitments under international law and may be a grave contravention of Australia's criminal law.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court came into force for Australia on September 1, 2002, and since that date the International Criminal Court has had jurisdiction to exercise its functions and powers in Australia over persons within Australia."

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