SC sets oral debates on PH withdrawal from ICC
A face-off between the political opposition and the government looms as the Supreme Court (SC) set the oral debate on whether or not the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was valid.
In an advisory, the SC announced oral arguments have been set on August 14, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. to tackle two petitions disputing the validity of the country’s withdrawal from the ICC as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte issued a statement on March 14, 2018 declaring that “the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.”
The Rome Statute is an international accord that established the ICC in 1998. The ICC was created to prosecute persons for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.The Philippines adopted the Rome Statute in 2011.
Two petitions against the country’s withdrawal from the ICC were filed before the SC—the first one by opposition senators, and the second one by a group known as the “Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court” or PCICC.
For the oral arguments, the petitioners and the government “are required” to explain whether or not the SC should take cognizance of the petitions.
They were also required to debate whether or not the withdrawal from the ICC’s Rome Statute through a “note verbale” delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) is “valid, binding and effectual.”
The SC also ordered them to debate on whether or not the withdrawal places the Philippines in breach of its obligations under international law, and if it will diminish the Filipino people’s protection under international law.
The first petition was filed by opposition-affiliated Senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes.
Named as respondents were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine representative to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
The second petition was filed by the PCICC, with former Human Rights commissioner Etta Rosales and 11 other petitioners. Respondents in this case were Medialdea, Cayetano and Locsin. /kga
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