Press Release
August 23, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today assailed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos continued refusal to submit the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the Senate without any justification.

Pimentel warned that the Philippines may face reprisals from the international community if it keeps on resisting the ratification of the ICC convention which was forged under the aegis of the United Nations.

Some 20 international parliamentarians prodded the Philippine government to ratify the ICC convention during their visit to Manila last week. The parliamentarians came from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. But they received disappointing response from administration leaders headed by Speaker Jose de Venecia and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

The ICC was set up by the United Nations to investigate and prosecute the most serious and heinous crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. It was conceived to ensure that unimaginable atrocities that have usually occurred in countries in armed conflict would not go unpunished.

The Rome Statute was signed by the Philippines during the Estrada administration on Dec. 8, 2000. But since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office in 2001, she has not bothered to transmit the document to the Senate for ratification,

Pimentel said if the President is not interested in having the ICC convention ratified, its probably because she is afraid that she may find herself being hailed before the ICC because of numerous extra-judicial killings of activists and other human rights violations that are happening under her administration.

Gloria doesnt want the ICC treaty ratified because, among other things, she is scared she will be tried as a war criminal like President Milosovic of Yugoslavia or Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile who is being held responsible for the killings and disappearance of thousands of his countrymen during his presidency, he said.

Majority of the 192 nations of the world have already ratified the ICC treaty.

Pimentel noted that almost all the member-nations of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) favor the creation of the ICC so that there will be an equal application of criminal laws for soldiers all over the world.

He said President Arroyo should be held responsible for the non-submission of the ICC agreement to the Senate in apparent breach of the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution is clear that the Senate should ratify all treaties such as the establishment of the International Criminal Court, he said.

The people are entitled to know its contents. It should now be debated in the Senate so that the people would stop speculating what its all about, he said.

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