Today, 8 November 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) welcomed the Philippines as a new State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC in a ceremony held at the seat of the Court in The Hague. The Philippines is the 117th State Party to the Rome Statute and the 2nd country within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ratify the international treaty. The Rome Statute took effect for the Philippines on 1 November 2011.
In a symbolic act, the President of the Court, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, presented the Ambassador of the Philippines, H.E. Ms Lourdes G. Morales, with a special edition of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
Recalling that Manila was his first stop during an official trip to Southeast Asia last March to raise awareness about the ICC and to facilitate discussions about ratification of the Rome Statute in the region, the ICC President expressed his delight in now welcoming the Philippines into the ICC family. “I sincerely hope that the historic step taken by your country will encourage other Southeast Asian nations to follow the example of thePhilippines”, he said.
The Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) and Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Mr Jorge Lomónaco, stated that, by ratifying the Rome Statute, the Philippines “confirmed its strong commitment to international criminal justice and the protection of human rights, as well as its unreserved support for the pursuit of international peace and security and an effective international criminal justice system”.
In response, H.E. Ambassador Morales stated: “On behalf of the Philippine Government, I wish to express our appreciation to the members of the Court, as well as to all States Parties, for their hard work, devotion and dedication in bringing the ICC to where it is now. An expanding and dynamic institution, supported by 119 States Parties and counting, aiming at putting an end to impunity of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, serving justice effectively and efficiently, and championing the rights and welfare of victims”.