Survey: Malaysians more adverse to foreign powers intervening against war crimes

R. Loheswar
Malaysian joined the bottom five of the proportions of respondents who agreed to foreign intervention, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Less than half of Malaysians polled in a survey believe that other countries should intervene when a country commits war crimes if it infringes on national sovereignty.

In the survey titled “The Age of Impunity?” led by global research firm Ipsos that examined global attitudes to human rights in 24 countries, 45 per cent of Malaysians polled said so, and 24 per cent even disagreed that other countries should intervene.

Malaysian joined the bottom five of the proportions of respondents who agreed to foreign intervention, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

Japan, which was implicated in World War II and whose Constitution now explicitly outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes, was the lowest — with only 31 per cent of respondents agreeing to the intervention.

In comparison, over 60 per cent of respondents in Poland, India, South Africa, and Spain believed in foreign intervention.

In addition, only a third of Malaysians felt that the country should be involved in said intervention, and another third opposed it.

Despite that, 41 per cent of Malaysians are fine if other countries intervened if Malaysia were to commit war crimes.

This comes as 53 per cent of Malaysians felt that the military should always avoid civilian casualties and follow the rules of warfare, even ahead of national interest.

Most recently, Putrajaya had rescinded its agreement to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite deciding earlier to adopt it, following pressure from ethno-religious groups.

The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based international criminal court, and its powers are limited to only four crimes — genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

The survey polled over 17,000 adults in 24 countries. According to it, Malaysian respondents are among the countries where the national sample is more urban and educated, and earning more, and are not representative of the whole country.

It was done in collaboration with the Policy Institute at King’s College London and the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

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