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Legarda: Senate Ready to Work on ICC Treaty

March 7, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA, CHAIR OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, TODAY SAID THAT THE SENATE IS READY TO ACCEPT THE INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION FOR THE ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) FOLLOWING THE PRESIDENT’S SIGNING OF THE TREATY.
Legarda said that the committee is awaiting the transmittal of the ratification instruments from Malacañang. She added that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee even hosted the briefing of ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, to listen to his insights and learn from the experiences of the ICC.
“For a treaty to be valid, the Senate must concur to it after the signing of the President. The Committee on Foreign Relations is ready to accept the instruments of ratification for the Rome Statute and is prepared to conduct the necessary hearings once it is transmitted to the Senate,” she explained.
“In fact, the briefing of ICC President Song came at a most opportune time. He will provide the committee his insights on the ICC that would be instrumental as we discuss this in the Senate,” she added.
The Rome Statute is the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court. It was adopted on July 17, 1998 by 120 States.
The ICC 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 not act if a case is 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 concluded.