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Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago just won the election to become judge of the International Criminal Court.
Santiago said she could only leave her seat in the Senate once she would be called by the ICC to report to her new work.

The senator will be one of the six judges, who will assume office in March 2012. But Santiago said it might take a year before she assumes the post.

Santiago said on radio that she would be the first Filipino to sit there.

Her staff member, Tom Tolibas, said the senator got 79 votes in the first round of the ICC election, which automatically got her elected to the ICC.

Aside from Santiago, the committee on international criminal court posted on Twitter that Anthony Carmona of Trinidad and Tobago was elected to the ICC. In the radio interview, Santiago joked that she probably won a seat in the ICC because her enemies campaigned for her so that they could get rid of her.

Santiago topped the first round of the elections with more than two-thirds majority (79 votes), which was enough for her to win. Santiago will be the first Filipino to sit as judge of the 16-man Int'l Criminal Court based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Prior from Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago winning the seat, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario welcomed Santiago’s nomination for the prestigious international post as he stressed that the finding of the Independent Panel “validates the confidence the Philippine government has placed in the excellent qualifications and outstanding character of our candidate, Professor Dr. Miriam Defensor Santiago.”

The Panel was established by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) in December, 2010, to encourage States Parties 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 in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC.

The Independent Panel consists of experts in international law, international criminal law and procedure, humanitarian law and human rights law. They include the chair Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, where he sat as chair; and 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, among others.

“It assessed each candidate according to the “list” to which he or she was nominated, either ‘List A’ consisting of candidates with expertise and substantial experience in criminal law, or ‘List B’ consisting of candidates with expertise and experience in international law relevant to the ICC.”

Santiago, a former trial court judge and expert in international law, is one of 19 candidates that was eyed for six vacant seats on the ICC. She is included in List B. Based on geographic representation, one of the six is reserved for Asia. One other country from Asia, Cyprus, is competing for that seat.

However, that country’s candidate, George A. Serghides, was not among those that the Independent Panel found as “Qualified” because he lacks the necessary relevant experience, whether as judge, prosecutor, advocate or in other similar capacity, in criminal proceedings, according to the Panel.

“We see the ICC as playing a significant role in ending impunity, preventing crimes against humanity and in strengthening international peace and security,” said Secretary Del Rosario. “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.”

Source: INQUIRER, GMA News and Manila Bulletin


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