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Anti-Genocide Bill 1999

  • - C2004B00603
A Bill for an Act to give effect to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and for related purposes
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Introduced Senate 13 Oct 1999

Anti-Genocide Bill 1999
First Reading

1998-99

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

THE SENATE

Presented and read a first time

Anti-Genocide Bill 1999

No. , 1999

(Senator Greig)

A Bill for an Act to give effect to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and for related purposes

Contents

1       Short title 1

2       Commencement 1

3       Schedule(s) 2

Schedule 1--Amendment of the Genocide Convention Act 1949       3

A Bill for an Act to give effect to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1 Short title
        This Act may be cited as the Anti-Genocide Act 1999.

2 Commencement
        This Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3 Schedule(s)
        Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1--Amendment of the Genocide Convention Act 1949

1 Section 3

Insert:

Australia includes the external Territories.

2 Section 3

Insert:

genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a distinct group of people including, but not limited to, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, or a group based on gender, sexuality, political affiliation or disability:

       (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.

3 At the end of section 3

Add:

       (2) Except so far as the contrary intention appears, an expression that is used both in this Act and in the Convention (whether or not a particular meaning is given to it by the Convention) has, in this Act, the same meaning as it has in the Convention.

4 After section 5

Insert:

6 Application
        This Act extends to acts done or omitted to be done outside Australia.


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7 Act binds the Crown
        This Act binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth or of a State.

8 Effect of this Act on other laws
        Except as provided by this section, this Act is not intended to exclude or limit the operation of any other law of the Commonwealth or any law of a State or Territory.

9 Offence of genocide
       (1) A person who commits an act of genocide is guilty of an offence against this Act and is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for life.

       (2) A person who conspires with another person to commit an act of genocide is guilty of an offence against this Act and is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for life.

       (3) A person who publicly urges the commission of an act of genocide is guilty of an offence against this Act and is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years.

       (4) A person who attempts to commit an act of genocide is guilty of an offence against this Act and is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for life.

       (5) A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of an act of genocide is guilty of an offence against this Act and is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for life.

Note:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

10 Only Australian citizens or persons present in Australia may be prosecuted
        A person shall not be charged with an offence against this Act unless the person:

       (a) is an Australian citizen; or

       (b) is present in Australia.

11 Jurisdiction of courts and choice of law
        Where a person is charged with an offence against this Act, then, for the purposes of:

       (a) determining whether a court of a State or Territory has jurisdiction in relation to the offence; and

       (b) an exercise of jurisdiction by such a court in relation to the offence; and

       (c) a proceeding connected with such an exercise of jurisdiction; and

       (d) an appeal arising out of, or out of a proceeding connected with, such an exercise of jurisdiction;

this Act has effect, in relation to an act that is, or is alleged to be, the offence, as if a reference in section 12 to a part of Australia were a reference to that State or Territory.

12 Alternative verdicts
       (1) Where:

       (a) a person is charged with an offence against this Act; and

       (b) the offence is alleged to be an act that, under the law in force in a part of Australia at the time (in this subsection called the relevant time) when the act was alleged to have been done, would have constituted an offence of a particular kind if it had been done in that part of Australia at the relevant time; and

       (c) on the person's trial for the offence, the jury:

       (i) is not satisfied that the person is guilty of the offence charged; and

       (ii) is satisfied that the person is guilty of a different offence against this Act (in this section called the alternative offence) because the person has done an act that, under the law in force in that part of Australia at the relevant time, would, if it had been done in that part of Australia at that time, have constituted an offence (in this section called the local offence found to have been proved) of a kind different from the kind of offence referred to in paragraph (b); and

       (d) by virtue of the law in force in that part of Australia at the relevant time or at the time of the trial, a person charged with an offence of the kind referred to in paragraph (b) could in certain circumstances be found not guilty of the last-mentioned offence but guilty of an offence of the kind referred to in subparagraph (c)(ii);

the jury may find the person not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of the alternative offence.

       (2) If the jury finds the person guilty of an offence under this Act in the circumstances referred to in subsection (1), it shall, when returning its verdict, tell the judge that it is satisfied as mentioned in subparagraph (1)(c)(ii) and specify to the judge the kind of local offence found to have been proved.

13 No defence of exceptional circumstances or superior orders
        It is not a defence in a proceeding for an offence against this Act that:

       (a) the act constituting the offence was done out of necessity arising from the existence of a state of war, a threat of war, internal political instability, a public emergency or any other exceptional circumstance; or

       (b) in doing the act constituting the offence the accused acted under orders of a superior officer or public authority;

but the circumstances referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) may, if the accused is convicted of the offence, be taken into account in determining the proper sentence.

14 Section 38 of Judiciary Act
        A matter arising under this Act, including a question of interpretation of the Convention for the purposes of this Act, shall, for the purposes of section 38 of the Judiciary Act 1903, be deemed not to be a matter arising directly under a treaty.