GOVERNMENT PUTS PROSECUTION RISKS ON NEW ZEALAND PEACE KEEPERS
ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today that New Zealand peace keepers are exposed to politically driven
prosecution under a Bill being pushed through today. This Government does as little as it can get away with for defence.
So it is rushing this through without caring about the implications.
The Bill will give a new International Criminal Court powers to overrule our courts. “It can try New Zealanders again if
it doesn’t like the outcome of a New Zealand trial. It can apply its own ‘law’.
“That law breaches other basic rights in New Zealand law including the right to hear and test the evidence of witnesses
“The US strongly opposes the Court. The Select Committee considering this Bill did not tell Parliament of that
“The US is justifiably concerned that prosecutions will be misused by enemies to harass the military of countries that
believe in the Rule of Law.
“The new Court will be controlled by majority vote of countries that sign up. Mr Franks explained “Many are not
democracies. Others see justice as politics under another label, like Robert Mugabe”.
“If this law had applied while New Zealand soldiers were in Malaya they could be facing prosecution for performing their
duties. For example, we cut off supplies to terrorists by containing potential sympathisers in fenced villages. That
could now be a ‘crime against humanity’.
A Bill before the US legislature would cut off US military assistance to countries which join the Court. That US Bill
would prohibit the US from helping to rescue New Zealanders from misuse of prosecution powers, if New Zealand joins the
The International Court can impose fines and make New Zealand pay costs and reparations. “Some of the definitions of
‘war crimes’ are so wide that they could catch things many decent New Zealanders have done. Even our Army Cadet School
in Waiouru might have been a crime, because it enlisted boys under 15”.
“The Select Committee should have been informed on all the issues. National members are as culpable as Labour. They
should have asked to hear from New Zealand soldiers with direct war experience.
“Soldiers will be exposed while the politicians who send them on missions can hide from the risks. Lives will be lost if
sensible military decisions are delayed by soldiers seeking legal back-cover, to ensure they are not left on their own
to face the prosecutors.
This needs far wider public discussion before New Zealand promises to hand over its own people into the power of foreign
lawyers,” said Stephen Franks.