Press Release
October 31, 2008


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago addressed the members of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in the UN Headquarters in New York last Thursday with the Philippine Statement on the Report of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Speaking for the Philippine delegation, Santiago commended the efforts of the ICJ in increasing its efficiency which led to the successful conduct of hearings and promulgation of the World Court's orders.

The senator cited the dispute between Romania and Ukraine, the conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation, and the action taken on the self-government of Kosovo as examples of the ICJ's recent accomplishments.

"The variety of the cases now pending before the Court, involving issues or controversies between States in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, truly reflects the universality of the ICJ," Santiago said.

Santiago also commended ICJ President Judge Rosalyn Higgins whose term ends on 5 February 2009.

"She would, no doubt, leave a legacy that would enhance further the prestige and integrity of the Court. Her being the first woman member of the Court is in itself a historic and significant event and we thus urge all Member States to ensure that this is a policy that we maintain in the Court--gender balance!" Santiago said.

Santiago also said that the Philippines reaffirms its support to the work of the ICJ and the invaluable role it plays in promoting an international legal order, and reiterates its call for UN member states to continue to provide the Court with the necessary means that will ensure its proper, effective, and efficient functioning.

"The increased workload of the ICJ heralds an increasing trust and confidence in the supremacy of the ICJ to strengthen the Rule of Law, its universality and general jurisdiction. These are salient features that augur well for the future of the ICJ, in particular, and for a more peaceful and secure world, in general," Santiago said.

Considered as one of the country's international and constitutional law experts, the senator is in New York in preparation for the ICJ elections on November 6. Santiago is vying for one of five ICJ seats which will be vacated by February 2009. If elected as an ICJ judge, Santiago will be the first Asian female and second Filipino to hold the post.

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