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Senate OKs resolution on Rome Statute ratification

(Updated 8:44 p.m.) Voting 17-1, the Senate on Tuesday approved on the third and final reading a resolution concurring with the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Senate made the concurrence only after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile opposed Senate Resolution No. 546, which seeks to concur with the ratification of the Rome Statute which was signed by President Benigno Aquino III last February 28 and ratified on May 6. On the same day, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed their appreciation of the move, commending the Senate for “its strong leadership on the issue." “The Senate’s concurrence is a clear reaffirmation of our country’s strong advocacy for and abiding commitment to justice, human rights and the rule of law," Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Antonio Rodriguez said in a statement Tuesday. The Rome Statute provides for the establishment of the ICC, which is based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Under the treaty, the ICC can step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice when it comes to the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression," according to the DFA. Article 7, section 21 of the Philippine Constitution states that no treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate. 11 years in the making The statute was first signed by the Philippines in December 28, 2000 though then Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Enrique Manalo. Since then, the DFA has been “an ardent advocate" of the measure, according to the statement. In March this year, Aquino received in Malacañang ICC president Sang Hyun-Song. In 2002, then Foreign Affairs Secretary Teofisto Guingona first recommended its ratifications to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A year later, former DFA Secretary Blas Ople resubmitted the same recommendation in 2003. The Rome Statute was concluded in 1998 by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries and participated in by over 140 countries, including the Philippines. It entered into force nearly four years later after 60 states became parties to the statute. Currently, 116 states have either ratified or acceded to the statute. — Kimberly Tan with Bea Cupin/VS, GMA News
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