Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
52. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he is taking to support the International Criminal Court’s 2006 arrest warrant for General Bosco Ntaganda’s, for allegedly recruiting children under the age of 15 years as child soldiers in the Congo. [2352/12]
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Ireland has been a strong and committed supporter of the International Criminal Court since its establishment under the Rome Statute in 2002. We support the efforts of the Court to bring to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities.
An arrest warrant was issued by the Court in respect of Mr. Bosco Ntaganda in August 2006. This relates to three counts of war crimes covering the enlistment, recruitment and use in hostilities of children under 15 years of age. These are very serious charges and it is essential that Mr. Ntaganda appear before the Court to answer them.
Ireland, both directly and as a member of the European Union, provides ongoing support, including funding, for the ICC and its work. Ireland’s contribution towards the running costs of the Court in 2012 will amount to over €800,000. Ireland has also made voluntary contributions to Trust Funds that support the work of the ICC. In addition, some €40 million has been provided from the EU budget to support the work of the ICC, and related international criminal justice initiatives, since 1995.
56. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the Colombian presidency’s control over the country’s judicial system; and his views on whether such power is compatible with a democratic State. [2343/12]
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Colombia has witnessed the longest period of terrorism of any Latin American country (fifty years). Overcoming the consequences of decades of terrorism, as well as the displacement of between two and three million persons, presents significant challenges. The 2007-2013 EU Country Strategy paper for Colombia recognises that the “situation as regards human rights and democracy in Colombia is still critical”. Dialogue with the Government of Colombia, bilaterally and with our EU partners, offers the best way to further the objective of supporting democracy in Colombia. I will have an opportunity to seek an update on developments in the country from Vice President Garzon of Colombia during his first visit to Ireland later this month.
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