Press Release
August 29, 2007


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Philippine nominee to the International Court of Justice, delivered the keynote speech at the opening ceremonies of the 2007 Conference on International Humanitarian Law held at a Manila hotel yesterday (Wednesday, 29 August). The conference was attended by all foreign diplomats accredited to the Philippines, as well as public officials involved in international humanitarian law, such as the Commission on Human Rights, National Red Cross, departments of defense, interior, and justice, armed forces, and national police. Santiago , an international law expert, discussed "International Humanitarian Law as an Evolving Field of Law." Her lecture included the topics of definition and historical background, the overlap of international humanitarian law with international human rights law, issues in armed conflicts, and humanitarian law enforcement. Santiago defined international humanitarian law as "a new field of law that governs the use of force, specifically the protection of persons from the effects of armed conflicts." She said that this new field is a combination of the Laws of The Hague, also known as the laws of war, and the Law of Geneva, which deals with the protection of civilians during armed conflict. Santiago , Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, gave an extensive analysis of the Four Geneva Conventions and the Two Additional Protocols. She said that international humanitarian law is enforced today by placing war crimes under universal jurisdiction, and requiring parties to a conflict to accept an offer by the Red Cross to assume humanitarian functions. Santiago advocated more widespread enforcement of international humanitarian law by suing a state liable for compensation, by adopting UN resolutions, and by subjecting states engaged in armed conflict to scrutiny by, and pressure from, third parties.

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