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MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE AND THE ICC

MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE AND THE ICC
by Ex Castillo on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:55am

* Written in memory of the victims of the MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE one year ago, and the HACIENDA LUISITA MASSACRE six years ago.

I have written the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, since August, 24, 2009, regarding the enormous and systematic Human Rights violations and the massacres that happened intermittently in our beloved country, the Philippines.

According to Wikipedia,
“The International Criminal Court (French: Cour Pénale Internationale; commonly referred to as the ICC or ICCt) is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression).”

“Article 5 of the Rome Statute grants the court jurisdiction over four groups of crimes, which it refers to as the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”: the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.”

When the Maguindanao Massacre occurred, and we found out how inhuman, barbaric, and heinous the atrocity was, I gathered information, and furnished them to the ICC to include to the evidence unit of the ICC, details of the massacre, and incidences that can be classified as, “crimes against humanity, and war crimes”.

We are aware of the limitations of the ICC. Wikipedia also states that:

“Territorial jurisdiction
During the negotiations that led to the Rome Statute, a large number of states argued that the court should be allowed to exercise universal jurisdiction. However, this proposal was defeated due in large part to opposition from the United States. A compromise was reached, allowing the court to exercise jurisdiction only under the following limited circumstances:
* where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party (or where the person's state has accepted the jurisdiction of the court);
* where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party (or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the court); or
* where a situation is referred to the court by the UN Security Council.”

I am not a lawyer, but it is plainly stated that the person … committing a crime are nationals of the Philippines, and there is no problem here. The two main problems are the fact that:
1) the Philippines is not yet a state party to the ICC, because of the inaction of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and mainly through the"imposition" of opposition by the United States,
2) the situation is not yet referred to the court by the UN Security Council, to which the US is one of the countries with veto powers.

In spite of the knowledge of these limitations, I took the following steps:

A. "The Philippines is not yet a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court":
1. I wrote President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to urge her to act on the ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC, so that the Philippines becomes a State Party,
2. I wrote all the members of the Philippine Senate and all the members of the Philippine House of Representatives to continue to move towards the ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC so that the Philippines becomes a State Party,
3. I wrote even the members of the Supreme Court, just to complete the move to inform all branches of the government, even though we are aware that the court has no involvement in the ratification process of international treaties that the Philippines enters into,
4. I informed some Filipino organizations of the need to act in order to urge the Philippine government to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, so that the Philippines becomes a State Party.

B. "The situation is not yet referred to the court by the UN Security Council".
Although I am aware that the US is one of the countries with veto powers in the UN Security...

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