Image: International Criminal Court President Judge Sang-Hyun Song meets with Philippines Senators on 7 March © Private
On 7 March, ten years after the government of the Philippines signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, President Aquino took the next step towards completing the ratification process by submitting the treaty to the Senate for approval.
The Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs will now consider whether The Philippines should ratify before a vote is taken. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favour of ratification for the process to continue to completion.
States that ratify the Rome Statute commit to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes before their national courts. They agree that, if they are unable or unwilling to do so, the International Criminal Court may step in. They also commit to cooperating fully with the Court’s investigations and prosecutions.
Since its establishment in 2002, the International Criminal Court has started work to challenge entrenched trends of impunity which contributed to the wide-spread commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes throughout the last century. The Court’s long-term success depends on as many states as possible ratifying the Rome Statute.
Of the 114 states that have ratified the Rome Statute so far, only seven are from the Asia region. Ratification by the Philippines would not only mark a major milestone in the country, it could also inspire other Asian countries to ratify.
In the next two months, Amnesty International is promoting a petition in the Philippines calling for the Senate to approve ratification of the Rome Statute as soon as possible. Members and supporters from around the world are requested to support the national campaign by signing this international petition which will be submitted to the Senate jointly with national signatures.
I urge The Philippines Senate to support prompt ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to ensure that The Philippines commits to the new system of international justice as soon as possible.