Miriam would have been ICC judge by now

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Her 5 fellow newly-appointed International Criminal Court judges have taken their oaths

SOON TO ICC. Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago with ICC President Sang-hyun Song. Photo from official Facebook page of Sen Santiago

MANILA, Philippines – By now, the feisty senator would have officially been an International Criminal Court (ICC) judge after the 18-member ICC administered the oath to its new judges in The Hague, Netherlands.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, however, did not join her 5 fellow newly-elected ICC judges when they took their oath Friday, March 9. The ICC said Santiago “was unavailable due to personal circumstances.”

On March 1, her office issued a statement saying she had sought permission to skip the oath-taking because of medical reasons.

The statement said her high blood pressure and condition known as “lazy bone marrow” forced her to skip the event.

In response, ICC president Judge Sang-Hyun Song said, “Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago will make her solemn undertaking at a later date. We look forward to welcoming her then, and meanwhile send her our best wishes.”

NEW COLLEAGUES. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's colleagues in the ICC take their oath in The Hague. The 5 other new judges are from the UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, and Nigeria. Photo from the ICC website

Crucial vote

In January, Santiago said she will prioritize her work as a senator-judge in Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial.

“Even only one vote could be crucial to decide the impeachment case. Hence, I shall take steps to persuade the ICC to call me, only until after the impeachment decision has been promulgated,” Santiago said in a letter to the media

Santiago was elected a judge in the ICC, the independent body that prosecutes individuals for crimes against humanity and war crimes, in December 2011. She was chosen for a 9-year term during elections held in the United Nations in New York.

“I am the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to be judge in ICC because it is only new, just 10 years old,” Santiago said. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com