Morrison and Abbott named in International Criminal Court submission on #refugees: @jansant reports

Photo: DIBC images (Source: Wikimedia Commons).

Photo: DIBP images (Source: Wikimedia Commons).

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is currently considering a submission calling for an investigation into Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

The submission was officially accepted by the ICC on May 19, 2014, it names senior members of government.

No Fibs has now seen the full submission, however, after advice from experienced investigators, we decided against publishing the document. The advice was publication could harm any possible future investigation. We have published the executive summary (below).

The submission was prepared by lawyer and migration agent Tracie Aylmer, who also does volunteer work in a legal capacity.

Tracie told No Fibs she prepared the submission to ensure international law was upheld and to return humanity to those who have been persecuted.

The submission names:

  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
  • Minister for Immigration and Border protection Scott Morrison
  • Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaela Cash
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop
  • Former Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley
  • Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders Lieutenant General Angus Campbell

The submission calls on ICC prosecutors to use Article 17(2) of the Rome Statute in relation to all onshore and offshore processing. It alleges the Australian government is committing atrocities that are in breach of Article 7 of the convention.

In February this year, the New York Times reported: “Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers sent to offshore processing centers is cruel, inhuman and degrading and it violates international law, the United Nations’ human rights office said”.

In July former director of mental health services at International Health and Mental Services Dr Peter Young gave evidence to the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.

Young told the inquiry The Department of Immigration and Border protection “asked us to withdraw the figures from our reporting” which showed alarming high levels of mental health problems among young detainees.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been a long-time critic of Australia’s mandatory detention. In 2011 UNHCR regional representative Richard Towle said: “In the Australian context, UNHCR has longstanding concerns that mandatory detention for prolonged periods, particularly in isolated locations and crowded conditions, can quickly impact on the psycho-social health and welfare of asylum-seekers and refugee”.

Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM (@Kon__K) from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre told No Fibs in a statement today: “Under the Abbott Government we have seen for the first time the average time in detention surpass 300 days. The loss of access to legal representation while in detention, a spike in reports of self harm and increased intimidation and pressure to depart Australia while in detention”.

Update: reports Julian Burnside’s (@JulianBurnside) comments on Tracie’s ICC submission, during his #MarchInAugust Melbourne speech.

View full coverage of developments since this story was published.

ICC recieves submission regarding Australia and refugees

Executive Summary ICC submission

Support an independent media voice. Support No Fibs Citizen Journalism.
Monthly Donation


  1. Thanks for following this on our behalf. I look forward to reading your next update.

  2. Peg Hewitt says

    And why is this not on the news!?!

    • It’s not on the news because Australia’s mainstream media is controlled by private, wealthy, interests – and also because any journo who dared to make it public, would be imprisoned under Abbott’s illicit and evil new laws.

  3. Why aren’t Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and the Ministers for Immigration under the former government named in the submission also? It was after all they who restarted offshore processing, instituted most of the procedures in place in offshore detention centres and came up with such ideas as resettling all refugees in PNG even if they were genuine. This shouldn’t be partisan, both ALP and the Coalition have pursued much the same policies.

    • You’re right, Christine, Labor should be ashamed. They’re supposed to be more decent and caring than the Liberals but in this case they aren’t.

    • The crimes were committed AFTER the Liberal Govt came in. It also happened when the Howard Govt was in. I know this to be true as I knew someone, a professional colleague, who was very high up in the WA Govt, in Howard’s time, who said to me “My hands were tied trying to help Christmas Island asylum seekers. They came out worse than they sent in. PTSD is more common than not. I AM disgusted with our government. It’s inhumane.”

      In 2009 I knew someone who worked on Christmas Island volunteering. They lived under the same conditions as detainees. Good food, clean accommodation, education & activities. They went through stringent processes. Yes, some were rejected & sent back.

      These are FIRST hand accounts from professionals I know well.

  4. We have to get this on TV news. It’s the only way to reach the idiots that still believe in these monsters.

    • Mainstream media are more concerned with Australia’s involvement in Iraq presently …

      Time will come that it will get coverage. Follow me on Twitter. I will be updating regularly about this. Follow Wayne Jansson as well.

      Wayne did a very credible job writing this. It is true, evidence-based & the submission took MONTHS of research for Tracie Aymler to write. She is a professional Migration Agent & practising lawyer.

    • Mainstream media, remember, tends to be owned and controlled by the very right wing mentality we want to flush from our midst.

      As such, it doesn’t suit them to report honestly – or even at all,

      Their job is to entice the average Aussie to become addicted to the plethora of idiotic, mindless, reality tv shows so that they have no political idea whatsoever as to what’s going on in their own country.

      As for the ABC and SBS – I think they try to do their best, but even they more than likely need to tread carefully for now.

  5. This is nothing but ridiculous and hopefully someone will have the sense to look at the mental health statistic on mental health to indicate mental illness is the nature of those illegally arriving. The WHO and other independent studies sight metal health issues from Iraq and Iran at epidemic proportions. The lies and manipulation of Pr Jillian Trigg of children in detention is an indication of the sort of lengths some will go to push their political agenda.
    This so called head of the Human Rights Commission told of prison like conditions and armed guards. Both claims are totally incorrect and nothing less than a disgrace. Trigg claimed the facilities were the same as high security prisons, a blatant lie and this lack of professionalism is unforgivable by someone in her position.

    • Just to clarify, the high security fencing is pool fencing and a boom gate, no locks, not locked gates, no armed guards. So INSECURE, a detainee went missing last week and was found wandering in the community.

      • Gemma, when CRIMINALS go into high security prisons they get an exit date and on appeal can get out earlier, CRIMINALS don’t have there kids locked away with them, enduring the same hardships as themselves. When CRIMINALS cut themselves they are treated, not left to get an infection that eventually kills them. Now as far as I am aware ASYLUM SEEKERS are NOT CRIMINALS they are trying to escape the war and persecution in there homelands, that thank God we Australians haven’t had to experience. The detention centre pics I have seen Do have high fences WITH razor wire on top, the gates DO have locks and some of the ASYLUM SEEKERS that have been sent back have lost there lives within days of there return……… How great is to be part of Team Australia …….not!!!

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head, Syd.

        I look forward to the day Abbott, Morrison, Bishop, Cash, Hurley and Campbell stand in chains in The Hague to answer for their crimes against humanity.

        A submission was accepted by The Hague on the 19th of May and the (alleged?) offenders have been named in that document…so hope springs eternal once more.

    • Wayne Jansson says

      Mental health experts who work in the field agree, indefinate mandatory detention is harming the mental health of refugees.

      Morrison: “……and are you suggesting that Long Bay Gaol is the same as a pool fenced alternative place of detention at Phosphate Hill on Christmas Island”
      I do not know of any pool fences topped with razor wire. Do you?

      Images of Long Bay jail and immigration detention quarters –

      “Armed Australian customs guards searching, tagging a small refugee child on Xmas Island.”

  6. Is there anything we, citizens of Australia…members of The real “Team Australia” can do to assist with this?

  7. Hi everyone,
    I really hope this story is true. Just wondering where we can verify its authenticity? Are there any other news outlets covering this? Where did the author get their info? I do not mean to put the author’s integrity into question, I’m sure we all agree you need to be thorough and consistent in testing the validity of info found on the internet in this day and age. Heres to hoping Morisson and Abbott are found to be the criminals we know they are.

    • Wayne Jansson says

      NoFibs authenicated the document above (submission receipt) directly with the International Criminal Court.

  8. This is what I suggested should happen to Phillip Ruddock. This case at the ICC is music to my ears. I hope it can be successful and well-publicised.

  9. The deviousness of this Murdoch government needs to be exposed. They use secrecy, obfuscation and intimidation to enforce their ideological warfare against decency and fairness and any agreement or treaty to which Australia is a signatory, but which doesn’t suit them or their sponsors and fellow criminal organisations. They have changed rules and regulations to avoid being held to account by the citizens of Australia, so I really hope the ICC have the jurisdiction and “teeth” to punish those inflicting cruelty on LEGAL asylum-seekers.

  10. They MUST be successfully prosecuted and preferably convicted to stop the new generation of ideological nutters from perpetrating the same crimes.

  11. I want to organise a forum soon on legal aspects re asylum seeker policy- possible threads: health professionals have formal obligations but what positive support can be offered to them if they speak out/ report… how can we stop the process whereby the High Court makes a favourable judgment for refugees- and then the Govt changes the law… would a Bill of Rights be helpful in ensuring the law was upholding our obligations… and what are the changes of the above prosecution succeeding- and if so, what then. I convene Hunter Asylum Seeker Awareness, a local Newcastle group that’s held a few actions- so would anyone from nofibs consider speaking? Could work as a Politics in the Pub- have raised something along these lives with them….

    • Tracie Aylmer says

      There are no protections for whistleblowers in the private domain in this country. A couple of months ago, I spoke to Thomas Drake as I wanted to know how I could obtain positive support. Since May – when I emailed the submission and attachments to the ICC – I kept a very low profile as I lived in fear that ASIO would be making trumped up charges against me.

      Thomas Drake told me to get the public and media on my side. It was a very good conversation, as I have felt quite alone for the past few months – other than the fantastic support Tim Jones and Judie Gade (as well as a few others) have given me.

      Nofibs have been fantastic as well. Jansant did a wonderful job at bringing the submission into the limelight, and I publicly thank him (I had privately done so before). Other media outlets are still trying to find a handle on how to publicise it.

      In saying this, I need more public support. So if there are any other ways to protect me with the media and the public, please find a way.

      I would love to speak at a Politics in the Pub, but am nowhere near Newcastle and am very shortly moving interstate.

  12. Tracie Aylmer says

    Who are you?

    • Tracie Aylmer says

      This comment is meant for HannahQuinn… who are you? I don’t know you, and haven’t seen your name particularly while I was writing it.

  13. Marian Saines says

    Wayne this was a great intitiative and I absolutely support it. May seems quite a long time ago. What is the court waiting for, do you know?