Foreign Affairs Secretary urges Senate concurrence to Rome Statute establishing International Criminal Court

A July 28, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario urged the Philippine Senate to give its concurrence to the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a statement delivered before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Subcommittee on the ICC, Secretary del Rosario said, “Only now and under President Aquino, our country is in the process of finally ratifying the Rome Statute. We’re hopeful that this Senate will give its concurrence post haste.”

“The position that we take on this important issue reaffirms our country’s leading role in promoting justice, peace and the rule of law in Asia, being a model of democracy in this part of the world,” Secretary del Rosario said.

On May 6, 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III ratified the Rome Statute. He received in Malacañang last March from ICC President Sang Hyun-Song.

The Philippines, through then Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Enrique Manalo, signed the Rome Statute on December 28, 2000.

Under the Philippine Constitution, treaties ratified by the President need the concurrence of the Senate before these can enter into force and effect.

Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Chairperson of the Subcommittee on the ICC, jointly presided the concurrence hearing.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials present were Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio, Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs J. Eduardo Malaya, and Assisstant Secretary for United Nations and Other International Organizations Leslie Gatan.

The DFA has been an ardent advocate of Philippine ratification of the Rome Statute through the years. Under Secretary Teofisto Guingona, the DFA recommended its ratification to President Gloria Arroyo in 2002 and, under Secretary Blas F. Ople, resubmitted the same to the President in 2003.

The Rome Statute was concluded in 1998 by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an ICC that was participated in by some 140 States, including the Philippines. The Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002, after 60 States had become Parties.

The ICC, which is headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands, has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression.

To date, there are 116 states that have either ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, 15 of which are from Asia and the Pacific, including Cambodia, East Timor, Korea, Australia, and Japan.