Press Release
August 8, 2011

Legarda Urges Fellow Senators to Approve RP's Entry to ICC

Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today urged her fellow Senators to vote for the concurrence of the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This favorable recommendation was aired by Legarda in her co-sponsorship speech as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the Rome Statute of the ICC, reports out the treaty to the Senate plenary.

The Instrument of Ratification of the treaty was signed by the President last May 06, 2011 and submitted to the Senate thereafter for concurrence. Under Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution, "No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate." In her co-sponsorship speech, Legarda recalled the milestones of the Rome Statute, "On 17 July 1998, the Philippines cast its vote for the adoption of the Rome Statute, together with the 119 Member States of the UN. It has been 13 years since then but today we resume taking up our responsibility as a Nation-State in pursuit of human rights and fundamental freedom."

"Despite differences in culture and legal systems, the participating States came to Rome with one unified object and purpose: that universal justice be done to the victims of the terrible atrocities by the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Throughout the proceedings of the Rome Conference, the Philippine delegation worked with the awareness of the instruction from their Government that they must support the establishment of a permanent and independent international criminal tribunal," the Senator explained.

The ICC, which began operating in 2002, is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

It is a court of last resort that will act if a case is not investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine. It only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.

Legarda noted that the United Nations Security Council recently referred to the ICC the case of Libya, a non-state party to the ICC. She said that this is a positive development since Filipinos who may become victims of atrocities brought by the growing unrest in Libya can be provided with the necessary legal remedy through the ICC.

"The ratification of and concurrence to the ICC by the Philippine government is a step in the right direction considering that the Philippines is a thriving and robust democracy. This will strengthen our stand in protecting human rights, including the right to human life and dignity, and will bring a strong message that we will never tolerate impunity," Legarda said.

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