Article Philippines Daily Inquirer
Publicerad: 29 april 2008
MANILA, Philippines -- "The estimated 10 million Filipinos overseas,
particularly those in conflict areas, will benefit from the 1998 Rome
Statute, an international coalition of human rights organizations said
Monday as it urged Malacañang to transmit to the Philippine Senate the
instruments for the treaty's ratification.
The 1998 Rome Statute, the treaty which the Philippines signed Dec.
28, 2000, creates the International Criminal Court (CICC) which
handles war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity.
In a three-page letter addressed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
William Pace, convener of the Coalition for the International Criminal
Court, urged the executive department to transmit the instruments of
treaty for deliberation to the Philippine Senate.
He said the treaty would be useful to some 10 million Filipinos who
were working and living abroad, especially those in war-torn countries
like Iraq and Afghanistan. (Unofficial estimates put the number of
Filipinos working in American camps in Iraq from 4,000 to 6,000; and a
couple of hundred in Afghanistan.)
"The ICC could be an option to seek redress when serious crimes under
the jurisdiction of the Court are committed against Filipino
nationals," Pace said in the letter dated April 14, 2008 and coursed
through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.
Pace explained that the ICC might handle cases involving Filipinos "if
the host state where the crime was committed was a state party to the
ICC or when the perpetrator was a national of a state party, and if
and when such state is unable or unwilling to try such case."
He also said the Philippines, as a member of the United Nations Human
Rights Council, should demonstrate its commitment to international
instruments by ratifying treaties, including the Rome Statute of the ICC.
He added that the Philippines, which has crucial role in the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as in the whole
Asian region, would set a remarkable example for other countries when
it ratifies the treaty.
Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Asia Pacific Coordinator for the CICC, and
former Akbayan partylist Representative Etta Rosales, now the
co-chairperson of the Philippine Coalition for the ICC, also signed
In 1998, the US led seven nations -- China, Israel, Sudan, Iran,
Libya, and Iraq -- that voted against the treaty. Now, the only
superpower in the world gathered more than 100 bilateral immunity
agreements (BIAs) with its political allies to provide immunity to
American soldiers committing war crimes outside US jurisdiction.
The Philippines signed the immunity agreement with the US in May 2003
thus preventing ICC prosecution of US soldiers committing war crimes
on Philippine soil."