FALSE: Miriam Defensor Santiago’s election as ICC judge is void

CLAIM: The election of the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago as judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is void, claimed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

"If the position is we’ve never been a state party, then logically it is void," Panelo said.

Panelo was referring to the argument of Malacañang that the Philippines did not actually withdraw from the ICC because the state was never part of it in the first place.

To support this argument, the Duterte government claims that:


The facts:  The election of a judge from a member party will never be affected by that country’s eventual withdrawal.

No, the withdrawal would not affect the status of the judge from the Philippines as the Rome Statute only refers to a requirement of State Party nationality at the time of election but not afterwards,” said the ICC in an earlier message to Rappler. We had inquired about whether the withdrawal would affect the election of Judge Raul Pangalangan.

“Once elected and sworn in, the judges shall hold office for a term of nine years in accordance with the Statute and the principle of judicial independence,” the ICC said.

Pangalangan continues to serve as judge of the ICC. Pangalangan, who was elected to the ICC in July 2015, is assigned to the pre-trial division, trial chambers IX and VIII. He will serve until 2024.

Panelo said the Philippines need not pull out Pangalangan. "We don’t have to pull out anybody. If the position is we never were under the jurisdiction of the court, then it behooves whoever is there to do something for himself," Panelo said.

Pangalangan replaced Santiago, who never got to assume her judgeship because of illness.

Santiago was elected judge of the ICC in 2011, making her the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to be elected ICC judge.

Santiago was forced to step down in 2014 due to illness. She died in 2016, months after the presidential elections, where she came in last in the 5-way-race that elected Rodrigo Duterte president. – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.