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Sen. Miriam Santiago qualified for int’l criminal court, law experts say

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 03:24 PM October 29, 2011

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – An independent civil society panel has found Senator Miriam Santiago “qualified” to be a judge on International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

In a statement, the DFA cited an October 26 report of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) that listed Santiago as one of several candidates qualified for the job.

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“The finding of the Independent Panel validates the confidence the Philippine Government has placed on the excellent qualifications and outstanding character of our candidate, Professor Dr. Miriam Defensor Santiago,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

“We welcome this very significant finding by the Independent Panel.  It reinforces our efforts to be a part of this very important and historic international tribunal,” he added.

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Santiago is one of 19 candidates aspiring to fill six vacant seats on the ICC, the DFA noted.

The DFA said that Santiago was nominated for her expertise in international humanitarian law, experience in criminal law and her known advocacy for the Rome Statute of the ICC.

The Independent Panel on International Criminal Court Judicial Elections  was established by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court in December 2010. The purpose of the panel is to encourage governments to nominate the most qualified candidates to be judges of the ICC.

The CICC includes 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 different countries working to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC.

“We see the ICC as playing a significant role in ending impunity, preventing crimes against humanity and in strengthening international peace and security.  The Philippines wishes to contribute to the work of the ICC and has launched the candidature of Dr. Santiago with this topmost in our minds,” Del Rosario said.

The Independent Panel consists of experts in international law, international criminal law and procedure, humanitarian law and human rights law. It is composed of the following:

•   Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (Chair);

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•   Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and former Judge of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia;

•   Hans Corell, former Judge of Appeal and former Undersecretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations;

•   Judge O-Gon Kwon, Judge and Vice President of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and former Presiding Judge at the Daegu High Court; and

•   Dr. Cecilia Medina Quiroga, Director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Chile and former Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The 2011 ICC election will be held on December 12-21 in New York.

Based on geographic representation, one of the six seats is reserved for Asia.  One other country from Asia is competing for that seat, but that country’s candidate was not among those that the Independent Panel found to be “qualified,” the DFA said.

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TAGS: crimes against humanity, Features, Foreign affairs, Human Rights, International Criminal Court, International Law, Judiciary, Personalities, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senate
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