Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Australia reported to the ICC over refugees

Australia runs concentration camps on remote Pacific islands where refugees are systematically brutalised and tortured (and sometimes murdered by neglect) in order to discourage others from claiming refugee status. And now they've been formally reported to the International Criminal Court over it:

Australia’s offshore immigration detention regime could constitute a crime against humanity, a petition before the International Criminal Court from a coalition of legal experts has alleged.

On Monday morning, GMT, a 108-page legal submission from the Global Legal Action Network (Glan) and the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic was submitted to the court, detailing what the network describes as the “harrowing practices of the Australian state and corporations towards asylum seekers”. The petition submits the office of the prosecutor of the ICC should open an investigation into possible “crimes against humanity committed by individuals and corporate actors”.

“As recent leaks reveal, these privatised facilities entail long-term detention in inhumane conditions, often including physical and sexual abuse of adults and children,” Glan said in a statement.

“The conditions and resulting hopelessness have caused what experts describe as ‘epidemic levels’ of self-harm among those held on these islands. Based on original research, the communication is the most comprehensive submission on crimes against humanity perpetrated outside of context of war.”

Its hard to see how the ICC can reject this - Australia is running concentration camps to explicitly torture people, FFS. If they get away with it, it will effectively be a death knell for international justice.

As for who might be subject to prosecution, the list is long: every Australian Prime Minister since John Howard, ever Immigration Minister over the same period, their departmental heads of immigration and border control who actually enacted the policies, and the CEOS and senior officials of the various private companies (Broadspectrum, Wilson Security and Ferrovial) who actually carried them out. I can't imagine Australia ever agreeing to turn over any of these people to The Hague. But none of them will be visiting New Zealand (or anywhere else civilised) ever again.