Wednesday April 17, 2024

Malaysia in U-turn on war crimes court

April 06, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's government did a U-turn Friday on its decision to join the International Criminal Court, the prime minister said, after a backlash from a powerful Islamic ruler and opposition politicians.

The Southeast Asian nation announced in March it was joining the world´s only permanent war crimes tribunal after a reform-minded government came to power last year. But the move sparked an outcry from opposition politicians and the powerful sultan of southern Johor state, who were furious the country's revered Islamic royals would not be exempted from potential prosecution by the court. Malaysia's decision not to join the ICC is a severe blow to the tribunal in The Hague, which has been under pressure following high-profile acquittals, while Burundi became the first country to quit the court in 2017.