Australia: Government may pursue Iran for inciting hatred

Canberra, 14 May (AKI) - The Australian government is preparing to prosecute Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the International Court of Justice for inciting hatred against Israel.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the government is getting legal advice on whether Australia could take action against the Iranian president.

The government first raised the idea that it would try to take the Iranian leader to the international court last year.

On Wednesday, Rudd told the Sky television news channel that Ahmadinejad's repeated comments about eliminating Israel were appalling.

"They are an incitement to international violence," he said.

"What we have said in the past is that we will take legal advice, which the attorney-general is currently doing, in terms of whether there is a profitable way forward here through the appropriate international legal mechanisms."

Attorney-general Robert McClelland also told The Australian newspaper that the government was seeking legal advice on taking Ahmadinejad to the ICJ.

"The government considers the comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for the destruction of Israel and questioning the existence of the holocaust, to be repugnant and offensive," McClelland told The Australian.

"The government is currently taking advice on this matter."

He told the newspaper there was a potential for loss of life if international legal mechanisms were not pursued.

Australia is the only country in the world pursuing Iran's leader for allegedly "inciting genocide" and denying the holocaust.

McClelland, a minister in the centre left Labor government elected last year, pushed for the campaign against Ahmadinejad when he was foreign affairs spokesman while in opposition.

Before the election in 2007 Rudd promised the Jewish community he would take legal proceedings against Ahmadinejad to the ICJ.


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