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Miriam Santiago wins seat in international court

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Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is the newest judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to sit in the tribunal that tries cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Tuesday.

The DFA, citing a report from the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, said Santiago was “overwhelmingly elected” in elections held by the Assembly of States Parties on December 12 in New York.

After waging a four-month campaign, Santiago topped the first round of polling, making it to the court with 79 votes out of 104 votes cast, an indication of strong support for her from the states parties, the DFA said.

Santiago said she would eventually resign from the Senate but that this would probably not happen in the next six months.

“I will take my oath of office in March together with six other new judges. They are still in the process of being voted upon. The Philippines was No. 1 in the first round of voting so that is something for the Philippines. All six of us cannot assume office until we are officially called to report for work,” she said.

Santiago will serve a nine-year term.

For now, the senator said she still expected to play an active role as a trial judge in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The feisty Santiago is also the author and cosponsor of the controversial reproductive health bill in the Senate.

She thanked President Benigno Aquino III for nominating her to the ICC and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, “who maximized his unerring generalship over all Philippine posts abroad” in a lobby effort for her.

She also cited Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis for being her “campaign manager” and Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who “network(ed) with the UN ambassadors.”

The ICC has 120 states parties and was established by a treaty called the Rome Statute that gives it power to try and punish the “most serious violations of human rights, in cases when international justice systems fail.”

Influential states

To be elected, candidates must receive two-thirds of the total votes cast, with the majority of the states parties voting.

The senator recalled that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had nominated her to the UN International Court of Justice, but while she won in the General Assembly vote, she lost in the Security Council.

For this, Santiago blamed several influential states, including the United States for her stand against the Visiting Forces Agreement; China, because of her close friendship with the Dalai Lama; and Japan, because of her efforts to amend certain provisions of the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement favoring Philippine nurses.

According to the DFA, Santiago was the first to be elected among 18 candidates vying for six seats on the court. In the first round of voting, she bested candidates from every region of the world.

The DFA noted that during the four-month campaign and run-up to the elections, Santiago was able to win the support of the states parties with her preeminent expertise in international law and outstanding experience as a trial court judge.

Tremendous responsibility

“This is the message that we emphasized in the campaign. We are pleased the international community has listened to us. Indeed, it is a new day for the Philippines, a day of pride for our country and a day of honor, knowing that this is a tremendous responsibility and mandate placed upon our compatriot,” Del Rosario said.

In a statement, Ambassador Cabactulan said Santiago’s triumph “is a victory for the entire Philippines and a demonstration of the international community’s complete faith and confidence in her outstanding abilities and of the country’s commitment to the global fight against impunity.”

During the campaign, Santiago emphasized the unique perspective she could give as a female judge, pointing out that many crimes of impunity were directed at women and that many complainants were women, the DFA noted.

Santiago had said in October that if she got the position, she would have to leave the Senate to take her seat in The Hague, The Netherlands. An ICC information note, however, clarified that court proceedings could take place anywhere in the world. With Maila Ager, INQUIRER.net

Originally posted: 9:07 am | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


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  • Anonymous

    Magkakalat na naman ito sa ICJ. Katakot.

  • Anonymous

    It is a sad day when we begin to think that being a judge in the ICC is more important than being a Senator of the Republic. It speaks of the quality of our Senate.

    The President probably just wanted to remove an unknown variable from the Senate.

  • Florita Pinga

    Miriam. D. Santiago is one of the rare species that is almost extinct in this hypocritical society; bluntly honest, fearless and quick with the cutting edge of truth. Ignoramuses, when faced with such a person can only blurt out words that convey nothing but lack of brains and wit. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K4E7KNZAJEWNI4LLTZ4J6KNK6Q wins

    what went wrong with you Joker? youve built yourself up solidly as a champion to ideals we esteemed only to get an axe and chop your leg off, gouge your eyes out so as not to see what we clearly see. We thought freedom had an ally in you. tsk, tsk

  • Anonymous

    So the senator has come down to the level to that of an ordinary journalist. And doing so has made some personal criticism on the alleged past life of Conrado de Quiros. 

    But would it explain why the senator has not made any objection nor yelp whatsoever on the pillages done by his favorite president, Gloria Arroyo? He sure did keep his silence for nine long years. 

    Also, reading between all the lines that de Quiros wrote for the last 20 years, I have yet to see any deviation from his stance against the corruption and political mismanagement in government. He never wavered in this goal.But as to Senator Arroyo, he sure made us Filipinos look like fools when after he became a senator, he turned sycophant to a president far worse than Marcos. He sure done credit to his name – a joker.But sadly the joke is on us.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHVLDBB5KM4KCEQHMEKX3KRAOY tehot

      ganun siguro kababa ang tingin mo kay de quiros. sabagay may point ka. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BN4RGMJXFOD6DKC2HM24M34K34 Bart

    Personalan na ang labanan nila. Naglalabasan na ng mga baho.

  • Anonymous

    So the senator has come down to the level to that of an ordinary journalist. And doing so has made some personal criticism on the alleged past life of Conrado de Quiros. 
    But would it explain why the senator has not made any objection nor yelp whatsoever on the pillages done by his favorite president, Gloria Arroyo? He sure did keep his silence for nine long years. 

    Also, reading between all the lines that de Quiros wrote for the last 20 years, I have yet to see any deviation from his stance against the corruption and political mismanagement in government. He never wavered in this goal.But as to Senator Arroyo, he sure made us Filipinos look like fools when after he became a senator, he turned sycophant to a president far worse than Marcos. He sure done credit to his name – a joker.But sadly the joke is on us.

  • Anonymous

    fight fight fight fight….bakbakan na…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHVLDBB5KM4KCEQHMEKX3KRAOY tehot

    again, cdq never answered the hacienda issue that joker hurled against him. typical of him. 

  • Anonymous

    Pag bad ka, lagot ka pwera arroyo, corona et al….



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