Malaysia joins ICC in boost for beleaguered court

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia has become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a minister said yesterday, in a boost for the beleaguered institution at a time it faces growing criticism.

The ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.

But the tribunal in The Hague has come under fire over high-profile acquittals, while Burundi became the first country to quit the court in 2017 and the Philippines has announced its intention to withdraw.

Malaysia’s new reform-minded government, which came to power last year, had vowed to join the ICC, and Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran confirmed the country signed the tribunal’s founding treaty on Monday.

Malaysia becomes the 124th member of the court since its establishment in 2002.

“By joining the ICC, Kuala Lumpur can now play an important role in issues related to crimes against humanity,” Segaran, who has long championed Malaysia becoming a member, told AFP. Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah signed the ICC founding treaty after Malaysia’s Cabinet approved the move, the Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement late Monday.