MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Sen. Miriam Santiago has been elected as a judge in the International Criminal Court, the independent body that prosecutes individuals for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Santiago said, “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.” The ICC is based in The Hague, Netherlands.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Santiago won the seat with 79 votes, radio dzBB reported. The Coalition for the ICC confirmed the development on its Twitter account.
The ICC’s gain is the Senate’s loss. In an interview with dzBB, Santiago said that she will resign her post but she will not leave the country immediately. The oath-taking will be in March and she said it may take a year before she is called to assume the post.
The senator said her Senate post may be vacant until the next elections.
Santiago joked about her successful bid for the ICC, “Suspetsa ko, nanalo ako sa ICC kasi kinampanya ako ng mga kalaban ko sa pulitika dito para mahalal at mawala ako. (I suspect I won in the ICC because my political rivals campaigned for me so that I will be gone).”
Earlier, an independent civil society panel found Santiago “qualified” to be a judge of the ICC.
The DFA cited the report of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) that listed Santiago as one of several candidates qualified for the job.
The CICC established the Independent Panel on International Criminal Court Judicial Elections in December 2010, to urge state parties to nominate the most qualified candidates for ICC judge.
CICC includes 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC.
Santiago, a former trial court judge and expert in international law, is one of 19 candidates seeking six vacant seats on the ICC, the DFA said earlier.
Based on geographic representation, one of the six is reserved for Asia.
The DFA said “one other country from Asia is competing for that seat,” but was not among those that the Independent Panel found as “Qualified.” – Rappler.com