MOTHER AND BABY HOMES: REFERRAL TO THE ICC FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) is instructed by Maria Arbuckle. Ms Arbuckle spent time at St Joseph’s training school in Middleton, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, before being transferred to St Patrick’s in Navan Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland in January 1981 to have her baby who was then forcibly adopted.
KRW is also instructed by a number of women who suffered experiences similar to Maria Arbuckle. These women and their children are some of the thousands of women and their children whio were subject to systematic institutional abuse in Mother and Baby Homes, Industrial and Training Schools and Magdalene Laundries which operated across the island of Ireland since at least 1922.
These institutions were often administered by religious orders whilst being financed and regulated by central and local government departments and agencies and professional association including the medical profession.
The recent publication in both Dublin and Belfast of state sponsored research including witness testimony has started to expose the extent of systemic institutional abuse over decades and impunity, complicity and collusion between church and state with scant regard for the border between South and North.
Following extensive submissions for a human rights compliant investigation into this abuse made to the governments in Dublin and Belfast, and to international humanitarian and human rights agencies including the United Nations, KRW has now made a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the Office of the Prosecutor to conduct a Preliminary Examination as whether this institutional abuse constituted crimes against humanity.
We have argued that the Treaty of Rome Article 7 (the definition of crimes against humanity) is engaged in that there is compelling evidence of torture (for example the use the brutal medical procedure of symphysiotomy as an alertnative to Ceasarian section), forced slavery and deprivation of liberty in industrial schools, technical schools and Magdalen Laundries and forced disappearence where children were forcibly adopted and ‘exported’ to countries including England and the USA.
Christopher Stanley, Litigation Consultant, KRW said today:
“Given the gravity of what is being exposed regarding Mother and Baby Homes and other institutions across Ireland, and we think the facts are only now beiginning to be bought into the public domain, it is clear that there was historic collusion, complicity and impunity between state agencies and those charged with operating these institutions.
It is clear to us that those women and their children suffered from a series of crimes against humanity within the definition provided in the Rome Statute. That is why we have made an extensive submission to the ICC requesting the Prosecutor commence a Preliminary Examination. This must be a cross-border examination. What happened in Ireland must be made aware to the international community and those women and their children must be able to hold state and church to account.”