Press Release
August 31, 2011

The Philippines becomes 117th State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

The Philippines deposited its Instrument of Ratification today with the UN Office of Legal Affairs at the presence of Senate Foreign Committee Chairperson Loren Legarda

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Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) welcomes today's deposit of the instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Philippines, which becomes the 117th State Party to this pivotal instrument for the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern.

This step follows last week's vote of the ICC Ratification Bill in third reading by the Senate of the Philippines, where PGA Member Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Rapporteur on the Bill and chairperson of the relevant Sub-Committee, and PGA Member Sen. Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Foreign Relations Committee, played a fundamental role in bringing about an almost unanimous decision in support of this treaty.

Senator Loren Legarda hailed the Senate "in wasting no time in putting its stamp of approval on the treaty after President Aquino's signing of the instrument of ratification" and lauded "Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for ably sponsoring the ICC treaty". Sen. Legarda further manifested that this "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."

Sen. Loren Legarda accompanied the Permanent Representative of The Philippines H.E. Libran N. Cabactulan to the UN at the ceremony of deposit, which took place in New York today recalling that "this is a landmark moment for Asian participation in the Rome Statute of the ICC", since Asia is often characterized as the most under-represented region in the ICC system.

At a sub-regional conference held in March in Kuala-Lumpur, PGA Malaysian Members steered the way for a bipartisan agreement in support of accession; and their colleagues-Legislators from the Maldives and Vanuatu announced country-specific strategies to de-block national processes to join to the Rome Statute. In April, the Cabinet of Malaysia decided to accede to the treaty through an Executive decision, as dictated by the Constitution of Malaysia. In May and June, the National Security Committee and the Plenary of the Maldives' Parliament adopted the Rome Statute's accession bill with bipartisan support, while in August the Parliament of Vanuatu did the same with an overwhelming majority vote.

"All the most recent developments in the Philippines, Malaysia, the Maldives and Vanuatu underscore that there is a new momentum in support of justice and the Rule of Law in the Asia-Pacific", stated Mr. Kula Segaran, MP, and Secretary of the PGA Malaysian Group. "The most recent debate regarding the Libyan conflict confirms that international justice is an essential tool to end impunity and to send a strong signal to all leaders of the world that crimes against humanity will not be tolerated anymore by the International Community", Mr. Kula Segaran concluded.

PGA remains committed to promote the universality and effectiveness of the Rome Statute system, which is based on a principle of burden-sharing between international justice and domestic efforts to combat impunity, in all regions of the world.


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