By Hilary Charlesworth
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Additional resources for No Country is an Island: Australia and International Law
Bilateral treaties often become binding as soon as they are signed by both parties. Some countries, such as Australia, may choose also to adopt the two-stage process in relation to bilateral treaties. The initial step of signing a treaty allows states to signal their inprinciple commitment to the treaty (for example, at an international conference when the treaty negotiation has concluded) without becoming bound by it. This gives a state time to take the necessary domestic steps (for example, passage of legislation through parliament, and gaining the consent of the necessary domestic institutions) to ensure it can comply with its obligations under the treaty.
For example, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, parties to the treaty are obliged, among other things, to cooperate with the Prosecutor of the Court in the course of an investigation or prosecution. In order for Australia to be able to comply with a Prosecutor’s request and, for instance, carry out an arrest, take evidence, execute searches or require the provision of documents, the Commonwealth Parliament passed the International Criminal Court Act 2002 (Cth). This Act implements Australia’s obligations under the Rome Statute.
42 Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 19 March 2003, 12 957 (Ann Corcoran, Member for Isaacs). 43 Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 19 March 2003, 12 878 (Steven Ciobo, Member for Moncrieff ). 44 Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 4 December 2002, 9568 (Kevin Rudd, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs). 45 See Bill Campbell & Chris Moraitis, ‘Memorandum of Advice to the Commonwealth Government on the Use of Force Against Iraq’ (2003) 4 Melbourne Journal of International Law 178; George Williams & Devika Hovell, ‘Advice to Hon.