The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court stresses that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that passed the second reading of the Senate yesterday is a “forward looking treaty that would only exercise jurisdiction over a crime when a country has become a states party.”
PCICC national coordinator, Rebecca E. Lozada, said the hypothetical situations that were raised during the interpellation that followed the sponsorship speeches should not be misinterpreted to mean that the Court will have jurisdiction on past crimes. The hypothetical arrest of retired army major general Jovito Palparan for his alleged crimes was raised by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“The ICC does not have retroactive jurisdiction. It may only consider crimes committed after the Rome Statute has come into force in a States Party. That requires that the Philippine Senate first concurs with the ratification of the treaty and deposits the instrument of ratification to the United Nations. The ratification will come into force 30 days after the deposit is made,” Lozada said.
She noted that Senator Miriam predicated her responses with the statement that “The procedure will be that the Philippines, which should be at that time a state party, would have primary jurisdiction.” (Underscoring ours)
Lozada explained further that the qualification “which should be at that time a states party” should not be lost even though the Senator focused on the principle of complementarity in the treaty. The principle says that national courts have primary jurisdiction over cases. The ICC will only step in when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate and try crimes.
The voting for the Senate concurrence to the Rome Statute has been scheduled for August 22. “The Philippine Coalition expects a strong yes vote. We congratulate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Senator Loren Legarda for supporting the International Criminal Court in their sponsorship speeches and for the senators who approve their committee report for voting against impunity,” Lozada further said. #
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Please contact for details MS. REBECCA E. LOZADA, 0917-5362638
Background: The ICC is the world’s first, permanent international court to prosecute war crimes,
crimes against humanity, and genocide. There are currently 116 ICC States Parties. Central to the
Court’s mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if
national legal systems are unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide,
crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
There are currently six active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Uganda, Kenya and Libya. The ICC has publicly issued 18 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear. Three trials are ongoing. The ICC Prosecutor recently requested authorization from Judges to open an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire. His office has also made public that it is examining eight other situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, and Palestine.
The PCICC was initiated by major human rights organizations and leading figures in international law in the country. Among the individual members are human rights defenders and legal luminaries. The organizational members include the Amnesty International-Philippines, Ateneo Human Rights Center, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance, PhilRights, Medical Action Group, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Women’s Legal Bureau, and WEDPRO.
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