1 June 2023

Submission: Supporting democracy in the region by addressing impunity

In December 2022, ACIJ made a written submission to the Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to assist in their Inquiry into supporting democracy in our region. Our submission focused on how impunity for serious international crimes is a direct threat to the rule of law and democracy in the region, and how Australia can seek to undermine this impunity by investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of serious international crimes, and where criminal investigation is not feasible, imposing targeted human rights sanctions.

On 4 April 2023, ACIJ was invited to address the Inquiry by participating in a public hearing roundtable alongside representatives from Human Rights Watch and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. Executive Director and Principal Lawyer, Rawan Arraf, and Senior Lawyer, Melissa Chen, addressed the Inquiry. They highlighted the main aspects of ACIJ’s written submissions, recommending that Australia establish a permanent, specialist unit to investigate international crimes and consider the use of targeted human rights sanctions, as well as providing an additional recommendation that Australia encourage States in the region to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Following the hearing, ACIJ provided supplementary submissions addressing questions on notice and other queries that the Committee raised in the course of the hearing. The supplementary submissions contained information about ACIJ’s additional recommendation, as well as further evidence justifying the establishment of a permanent, specialist international crimes unit in Australia.


Read ACIJ’s submission here.

Read ACIJ’s opening statement here.

Read ACIJ’s supplementary submission here.

Read the Hansard transcript from the Inquiry’s public hearing here.


Image credit: aph.gov.au 


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