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Miriam: Int'l court has no jurisdiction over Arroyo, Ampatuan cases

August 28, 2011 3:26pm

Even if the Philippines has recently become one of its members, the International Criminal Court is not likely to accept any complaint brought before it against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Miriam Santiago said Sunday.

And because the ICC is not retroactive, it may not have jurisdiction over the Ampatuan clan, some members of which are implicated in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province two years ago, Santiago also said.

Santiago said the ICC does not have jurisdiction over cases involving graft and corruption, which are at the heart of cases lodged in the Philippines against Arroyo, now a member of Congress representing Pampanga's second legislative district.

"Unfortunately the answer will be no, because it has no jurisdiction over corruption cases ... The court will declare that the case is not admissible," Santiago said in an interview on dzBB radio.

She said the ICC only has jurisdiction over offenses such as:

  • killings of a mass nature like genocide
  • crimes against humanity committed normally during a battle or a war between or amongst states, especially the treatment of civilians
  • war crimes
  • in the future, the crime of aggression

    On the other hand, Santiago said the ICC is not retroactive, meaning it cannot try cases involving incidents that had occurred before a country joined it.

    As such, she said the ICC may not be able to have jurisdiction over the Ampatuan clan for the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre; or retired General Jovito Palparan Jr. for the alleged extra-judicial killing of activists.

    "It (ICC) is not retroactive. It becomes effective for the Philippines only upon our ratification, if we file our notice of ratification with the United Nations. Diyan magiging epektibo (That's the time it becomes effective). It has no retroactive effect," she said.

    The Philippines joined the ICC only last Aug. 23 after the Senate voted to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, making the Philippines a party to the ICC based in the Netherlands.

    The Philippines was among the countries that drafted the Rome Statute in 1998, but ratification was pending until Tuesday. - KBK, GMA News
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