Roque blasts ‘gross ignorance’ of lawyers opposing his ILC nomination
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday dismissed as “gross ignorance” a group of lawyers’ objection to his nomination to the International Law Commission (ILC), a United Nations panel that develops and codifies international law.
Roque said this as he confirmed being in New York City for the selection of members of the ILC.
“Obviously, gross ignorance of what ILC is all about. Hiwalay po ang ILC sa ICC [International Criminal Court], wala pong kinalaman ang ILC sa ICC,” Roque said in a press briefing from New York City.
(Obviously, gross ignorance of what ILC is all about. The ILC is different from the ICC.)
Roque was reacting to the statement of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) opposing his nomination to become part of the ILC, citing how the mouthpiece of President Rodrigo Duterte “actively demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and, with specific relevance to the Commission, has undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law.”
“His public defense of extrajudicial killings, his belittling of the competence and jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and his cavalier disregard of the effects of domestic violations of human rights, among others make him ill-suited for the work of the Commission,” the FLAG also said in its letter to the ILC.
In response to FLAG, Roque noted that only a minority of the UN General Assembly, which elects members of the ILC, is part of the ICC.
“Kung pakikinggan sila ng estado, eh wala tayong magagawa. Pero kung ang kanilang dahilan ay dahil sa International Criminal Court, hindi po lahat ng bansa ay myembro ng International Criminal Court,” Roque said.
(If the states will listen to them, then we can’t do anything. But if their reason is because of the International Criminal Court, not all countries are members of the International Criminal Court.)
“In fact, karamihan po sa boboto, hindi nga po sila myembro ng International Criminal Court. Minorya po ng myembro ng General Assembly ang myembro ng International Criminal Court,” he added.
(In fact, many of those who will vote are not even part of the International Criminal Court. Members of the General Assembly who are also members of the International Criminal Court are just a minority.)
The Philippines earlier nominated Roque to become part of the 34 members of the ILC.
Roque, who taught international law at the University of the Philippines-College of Law, stands to be among the eight representatives from Asia-Pacific states to sit at the ILC. If elected, he will have a five-year term in the panel beginning January 1, 2023.
“Hindi po ito full-time job, itong International Law Commission. Wala po itong sweldo. Meron lang pong mga pagpupulong na gagawin, kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, ay ilang linggo kada taon. Bagamat ako po’y nominado ng Pilipinas, yung paghalal po sa akin ay sa aking indibidwal na kapasidad bilang eksperto sa international law,” he said.
(This is not a full-time job, this stint at the International Law Commission. There’s no salary. If I’m not mistaken, there will be meetings for a few weeks in a year. Although I was nominated by the Philippines, my nomination is in my personal capacity as an international law expert.)
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