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Updates on Australia
31 Dec 2005
As of April 2005, in order to implement the Rome Statute, the Federal Parliament had passed two different pieces of legislation, the Consequential Amendment Act 2002 and the Criminal Court Act.

On 20 June 2002, the Federal Cabinet decided that Australia should ratify the International Criminal Court, with a condition giving special protection to Australians. According to news reports, the declaration provides that Australians could not be tried by the Court without a warrant from the Australian government.

On 11 June 2002, Prime Minister Howard announced the Cabinet's decision to approve the bill on ICC ratification, and this was followed by two weeks of heated debate within Parliament.

In June 2002, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) of the Australian Federal Parliament conducted hearings with relevant departments, and recommended that Australia ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC (although these recommendations were not legally binding).

On 30 August 2001, the Attorney-General of Australia submitted to the JSCOT drafts of the legislation to implement the ICC Statute into domestic law. Civil society also made submissions on issues associated with these bills to assist the inquiry.

In 2001, the government developed an early draft in order to allow for suggested amendments. After ten months, the legislation was fully revised. Eight recommendations were suggested that were taken into account by the Government before submission.

Australia’s implementing legislation includes all the crimes listed in Art. 5 of the Rome Statute, but it also incorporated the grave breaches that are present in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention. The implementing legislation also incorporated principles of Universal Jurisdiction.

A new act, the Cooperation Bill, was drafted to define cooperation procedures with the Court. The Rome Statute had been added as a schedule to the Bill. Most of the provisions included were based on existing procedures.