Is the Australian Governor-General an international criminal?

It has been established since the Nuremberg trials that each person – including Heads of State – has a higher duty than that imposed upon them by the State.

The question arises, as the Australian Governor-General has now signed the Northern Territory National Emergency legislation to make it law, has he also committed an international crime if this legislation can be shown to be part of a genocidal process vis-à-vis Australia’s First Peoples.

Read the background – then you be the Judge of whether there is a case to answer. If so, should he stand down during the visits of overseas Heads of States during A.P.E.C. in Sydney next month?

(Note that he is entitled to a fair trial – what would constitute evidence that the legislation is genocidal as defined in the U.N. Convention?).

From: Bruce Reyburn
Sent: Friday, 17 August 2007 3:25 pm
To: Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General
Subject: With-hold Assent to NT National Emergency legislation until proper consultation with First Peoples in the N.T.
Importance: High

His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC
Governor-General
Commonwealth of Australia
Canberra, ACT

17 August 2007

Your Excellency,

WITH-HOLD ASSENT – NT NATIONAL EMERGENCY LEGISLATION

Today the Australian Senate passed a package of legislation in relation to what is styled as a Northern Territory National Emergency.

This legislation, relating to matters which lie at the core of the well-being of Australia’s First Peoples, was drafted in a matter of weeks by your Minister for Indigenous Affairs and without full and proper consultation with indigenous peoples and indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

The Senate was only allowed a one day inquiry. There are no indigenous representatives in the Australian Parliament.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006 declares:

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

As Governor-General you have the means by which you can withhold consent on this legislation until you are satisfied that First Peoples in the Northern Territory have provided their free and informed consent to the government’s legislation and/or administrative measures which affect them.

To fail to do this may cause unnecessary harm to the well-being of Australia’s First Peoples (in the Northern Territory and elsewhere) and bring the Sovereign and the Australian people into undeserved international disrepute.
yours truly

Bruce Reyburn
cc Australian peoples.

—–Original Message—–
From: Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General
Sent: Friday, 24 August 2007 11:42 AM
To: Bruce Reyburn
Subject: RE: With-hold Assent to NT National Emergency legislation until proper consultation with First Peoples in the N.T.

Dear Mr Reyburn

Thank you for your email of 17 August 2007 to the Governor-General concerning Northern Territory Emergency legislation.
General Jeffery appreciates the time and trouble you have taken writing to him about these matters, which he understands have caused you great concern. However, responsibility for issues such as these rests with the elected government of the day.
I refer in particular to your request for the Governor-General to withhold assent to legislation relating to Northern Territory Emergency matters. As Australia’s system of government is a parliamentary democracy, the Governor-General considers that it would be constitutionally indefensible for an unelected Governor-General to refuse, delay or rescind assent to a Bill by reference to his or her own personal opinion. Neither would he change or amend the substance of the Bill or the question whether it should or should not come into operation in the ordinary course. Accordingly, any Bill passed through both Houses of the elected Parliament, would be duly signed by the Governor-General.
I thought you might like to know that Royal Assent was given to Northern Territory Emergency legislation on 17 August 2007.
Thank you once again for writing to the Governor-General.
Yours sincerely
Brien Hallett
Deputy Official Secretary to the Governor-General

——————————————————

From: Bruce Reyburn
Sent: Friday, 24 August 2007 12:27 PM
To: ‘Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General’
Subject: RE: With-hold Assent to NT National Emergency legislation until proper consultation with First Peoples in the N.T.

Dear Sir

Thank you for your reply on behalf of His Excellency the Governor-General as a constitutionally responsible ruler.

It is my assessment of the Northern Territory National Emergency legislation that it will:

(a) cause serious mental harm to members of the indigenous peoples of the Northern Territory and, further,
(b) will inflict upon them conditions of life which may bring about their physical destruction in part.

Such acts are outlawed by the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

I request that you draw Article 2 and Article 4 of that Convention to the Governor-General’s attention.

Thank you.

Yours truly

Bruce Reyburn

——————————-
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.

Article 2
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
• (a) Killing members of the group;
• (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
• (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
• (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
• (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 4
Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

(from http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html )

————————

NUMERBERG PRINCIPLES

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Principles )

(ENDS)