Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that if required by military necessity, government armed forces in Mindanao should be authorized to enter rebel havens described by the existing ceasefire agreement as “areas of temporary stay.”
Santiago said that a new Philippine criminal law defines “military necessity” as “employing measures which are otherwise indispensable to achieve a legitimate aim of the conflict and are not otherwise prohibited by international humanitarian law.”
The senator cited R.A. No. 9871, known as the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law.
The new law declares the state policy “to put an end to impunity,” thus echoing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which the Philippines recently became a party.
Santiago issued her statement after reports that a new MILF attack killed 7 soldiers in Basilan and Lanao del Norte, following the killing of 19 soldiers in Basilan on October 18.
On whether the MILF should be charged for war crimes before the International Criminal Court for the ambushing and killing soldiers in Zamboanga
The killing of the 19 members of the AFP by rebels in Mindanao raises the issue of whether we can now, since we are now party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal, charge them before the ICC. My answer is that it is extremely doubtful whether we can do so because even if we charge them with war crimes, which falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC, the war crimes must be characterized as widespread, or as part of a systematic plan or policy, and therefore you have to prove that in addition to the usual elements of murder.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, the Philippine’s candidate for judge of the International Criminal Court, will deliver the keynote address at the forum on “Advancing Philippine Contributions to International Criminal Justice” TOMORROW, 21 October 2011, 9:30 am-12 noon at the Malcolm Theater, Malcolm Hall, College of Law, University of the Philippines in Diliman.
The forum is sponsored by The Institute of International Legal Studies of the UP Law Center and the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
On the Supreme Court decision recalling its decision ordering the reinstatement of Philippine Airlines flight attendants
The Supreme Court decision which recalls the prior decision on a second motion for reconsideration is extremely unfortunate. The Supreme Court is teetering on the abyss of incredulity. Public credibility must be maintained at any cost. The wife of Caesar must be seen as doing good, but in addition she must be believed to be doing good.
I say this for three reasons: Number one, according to the internal rules of the Supreme Court, no second motion for reconsideration must be filed without prior permission from the Court. So you file two documents—first, a motion pleading with the Court to allow for a second motion for reconsideration, then you file your second motion for reconsideration. My question is Was there an order from the Supreme Court allowing this second motion for reconsideration? It was not even formatted as a second motion for reconsideration, but as a mere letter. If it was a motion for reconsideration, then the second party should necessarily have been informed. Notice and hearing are always part of due process. If an attorney files a mere letter, there is no obligation on the part of the Supreme Court to ask the other party to comment or to at least rebut the contents of that letter. So I want to know if there was a prior permission given for a second motion for reconsideration since that is a provision of the internal rules of the Supreme Court itself. That was done because the decision of the Second Division said that no other procedure should be entertained (or words to that effect), meaning to say that at that point the Supreme Court was tired of all the fuss the case was taking. It was taking thirteen years. It has three, at least, declarations from the Supreme Court. It affects 1,400 members of the labor as against management. So how can you possibly declare in one breath that this is final, no other procedure shall be entertained, and then entertain an ordinary letter? What credibility would be left?
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is a turning point. It marks the turn of mankind from the most violent century in human history, toward a new century characterized by a new regime. This new regime that has begun is the regime of international criminal court “determined to put an end to the impunity” previously enjoyed by the perpetrators of “unimaginable atrocities that deeply shocked the conscience of humanity.”
The ICC reinforces the international public order. It brings to international law a new category of obligations erga omnes, obligations which every State owes to the international community as a whole. The crimes within ICC jurisdiction are crimes committed against the international community.
But our imperfect world means that challenges remain in our quest for justice. One of the biggest challenges for the ICC is State cooperation.
The Rome Statute mandates that States Parties must try violations of international crimes. If they do not or they cannot, then the ICC should. This is a legal obligation. A non-action is not a third option.
National capacity and law reform maybe at the heart of the problem. To address the problem, I believe that the Court should continue to intensify its efforts to encourage and assist States to comply with this obligation. It is also in this vein that civil society can and has been of great service to the Court in the interests of justice.