MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has ratified and endorsed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the Senate, a significant move from the administration that promised earlier to uphold human rights.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said Aquino signed the Instrument of Ratification of the treaty last February 28.
The signing provides for the establishment of the ICC. It is the first permanent institution having power to exercise jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concerns such as the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression, and is seen to help end impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.
“It adopts the principle of complementarity that recognizes a State’s right to exercise jurisdiction over these crimes. Meaning, the ICC will only act if such State is unable or unwilling to carry out the investigation and prosecution of the crime,” Ochoa explained.
The ratification and recommendation to the Senate of the Rome Statute is in line with the visit of ICC President Sang-Hyun from March 7 to 8.
He will be meeting with Aquino as well as members of the Senate to discuss with them the latest developments in the ICC.
“Ratification of the Rome Statute enhances Philippine commitment to human rights and is our contribution to an effective international criminal justice system,” Ochoa added.
“It complements Republic Act No. 9851, which enables our country on its own to prosecute international crimes and strengthens human rights’ enforcement in our country,” he said.
Republic Act No. 9851, or the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, was signed into law in December 2009.