This week The Philippines became the 117th nation to ratify the Rome Statute and submit its citizens and politicians to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The nation offered the following official statement:
“The Philippines, a democracy that champions international law and the rule of law, views being party to the Rome Statute of the ICC as a vital part of the on-going global campaign to end impunity and violence against individuals and to further strengthen a rules-based international system, specifically in relation to international human rights law and humanitarian law,” Philippine Permanent Representative Ambassador Libran Cabactulan said.
“It is a clear signal of the importance with which the Philippines places to this treaty,” he added.
Ambassador Cabactulan further elaborated that, “The ICC also serves as a deterrent against genocide and other heinous crimes and ensures that all perpetrators of these serious crimes of concern are held accountable.
The ICC sits in The Hague, The Netherlands and has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide within the territory of the 117 nations that have ratified the treaty, or by their citizens, or when the United Nations Security Council refers a situation to the ICC for investigation. So far, the Security Council has referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan and in Libya. In response the prosecutor has sought, and obtained, warrants for the arrest of two heads of state, Muammar Qadafi of Libya, and Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan.
State’s Parties to the Rome Statute are, among other things charged with enforcing the court’s warrants. Should those with outstanding warrants appear on their territory, those 117 nations are expected to effect the arrest.