Press Release
November 11, 2008

Miriam wants RP in ICC

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today filed a resolution urging President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to transmit the Rome Statute to the Senate for ratification proceedings.

Santiago said that the change in US leadership will likely pave the way for US ratification of the Rome Statute.

Like the US , the Philippines has yet to ratify the Rome Statute. Malacañang still has to transmit the treaty to the Senate for ratification even though the Philippines has been a signatory of the treaty since 28 December 2002.

Under the Constitution, before the Rome Statute can be valid and effective in the Philippines , it is necessary that the Statute be concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

"Though the US , under the Bush administration, did not ratify the Rome Statute, President-elect Barack Obama's statements on the International Criminal Court (ICC) suggests that he is open to working closely with the Court," Santiago said.

Mr. Obama has acknowledged in media interviews that the ICC has "pursued charges only in cases of the most serious and systematic crimes and it is in America 's interests that these most heinous of criminals, like the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur , are held accountable. These actions are a credit to the cause of justice and deserve full American support and cooperation."

The Rome Statute provides for the establishment of the ICC, which exercises jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Pimentel v. Office of the Executive Secretary that neither the Senate nor the Supreme Court can compel the President to transmit the signed text of the Rome Statute to the Senate. The President has sole discretion in initiating the ratification proceedings of a treaty.

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