ICC President Builds Support for the International Criminal Court During Visit to Southeast Asia

By The International Criminal Court icc, PRNE
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands and KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 17, 2011 - The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang-Hyun
of South Korea, concluded an eight-day official trip to Southeast Asia
on Sunday 13 March 2011. President Song urged states in the region to
consider joining the ICC, the first permanent international court set up to
prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and
the crime of aggression.

"I was greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm and support for the ICC
expressed by a wide variety of stakeholders in Southeast Asia", President
Song said upon his return to The Hague. "There was a real consensus by
officials and the civil society that it is time for Asia, which is already a
global force in many areas such as economy and technology, to assume a
stronger role in the international community's joint efforts to end impunity
for the gravest crimes known to humanity, as an integral element of
international peace and security. In particular, I was delighted to learn
about prospects of the Philippines, Malaysia and the Maldives moving to join
the Rome Statute in the near future".

The purpose of President Song's trip was to raise awareness about the ICC
and to facilitate informed consultations in countries that may be considering
ratification of the Rome Statute. Asia is the least represented region at the
ICC, and of the 114 States Parties only two - Cambodia and Timor-Leste - are
in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines

The first leg of President Song's trip was Manila, the Philippines. In
their meeting on 7 March, the Philippine President Benigno C. Aquino III
announced to President Song that he had signed the instrument of
ratification, which would be sent to the Philippine Senate for concurrence.
President Song also briefed (www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/structure of the
court/presidency/statements/07032011address) the Committee on Foreign
Relations of the Philippine Senate. The Committee Chair Senator Loren Legarda
expressed her strong support of the ICC saying, "the ratification of and
concurrence to the ICC by the Philippine government is a step in the right
direction considering that the Philippines is a thriving and robust
democracy. This will strengthen our stand in protecting human rights,
including the right to human life and dignity, and will bring a strong
message that we will never tolerate impunity."

During his stay in Manila, President Song addressed a civil society
reception and held a lecture on ICC and Asia at the College of Law of the
University of the Philippines. He gave several interviews to television and
newspapers and participated in a press conference organised by the Philippine
Coalition for the International Criminal Court.


President Song next visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he held
official meetings with Prime Minister Mr. Najib Razak, Minister of Law Mr.
Mohamed Nazri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Richard Riot Jaem and
Attorney-General Mr. Ghani Patail. On 9 March, President Song gave a keynote
address (www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/structure%20of%20the%20court/
at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the
Universality of the Rome Statute of the ICC, organised by the Malaysian
Parliament and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), an international
network of national parliamentarians working to advance peace, democracy,
human rights and the rule of law.

Photo: www.apo-mail.org/icc-asia.JPG (ICC President Song delivers
keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on The
Universality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court)

Minister Nazri, who is also Chair of the PGA Malaysia Organising
Committee, announced in his welcoming speech to the Parliamentary
Consultation that accession to the Rome Statute would be discussed in the
Malaysian Cabinet very soon. "The world events these past two months are
evidence of the urgent need for more countries to be part of the ICC …
International justice is one of the most important expenditures a Government
can invest in, not only for prevention, but also to help reconcile conflict
situations in the world", he said.

The event gathered PGA members and other stakeholders from nine national
legislatures and governments in the Asia-Pacific region including Bangladesh,
Indonesia, Kiribati, the Maldives, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, the
and Vanuatu. Delegates from the Maldives informed the meeting
that they would work to de-block the ICC ratification bill from parliamentary

During his stay in Kuala Lumpur, President Song gave several media
interviews and participated in a press conference in connection with the PGA
event. He also used the opportunity to meet with the civil society at a forum
hosted by the Malaysian Bar Council, and to give a lecture at the Law Faculty
of the University of Malaya.

Brunei Darussalam

President Song's last destination was Banda Seri Begawan, Brunei
, where he met on 12 March with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, who expressed strong
interest in the ICC's mandate and activities. President Song also held
detailed talks with the Attorney-General Datin Paduka Hajah Hayati Poksdsp
Haji Salleh and the Chief Justice Hon. Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi Dato
Paduka Haji Kifli.

President Song gave a briefing about the ICC to senior officials of the
Attorney-General's Chambers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as
well as to members of the Law Society of Brunei Darussalam. His visit was
widely reported in the local media.

Promoting the universality and full implementation of the Rome Statute
will remain a key priority for the remainder of President Song's term in
office, with a particular focus on Asia as the most underrepresented region
in the ICC. President Song has previously visited Bangladesh, Indonesia,
Laos, Nepal and Thailand for this purpose, with Bangladesh ratifying the Rome
Statute soon afterwards, in March 2010.


The ICC is an independent, permanent court that prosecutes persons
accused of the most serious crimes of international concern: genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes. It was established by an international
treaty, the Rome Statute, which currently has 114 States Parties.

To date, three States Parties to the Rome Statute - Uganda, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic - have
self-referred situations occurring in their countries to the Court. The
Security Council has referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan, and the
Prosecutor was granted authorisation by the Pre-Trial Chamber to open an
investigation on his own initiative into the situation in Kenya.

On 26 February 2011, the United Nations Security Council for the first
time unanimously decided to refer a situation - that of Libya - to the ICC
Prosecutor. On 3 March, the ICC Prosecutor announced that he had opened an
investigation into the situation in Libya and on 4 March, the ICC Presidency
assigned the situation in Libya to the ICC Pre-trial Chamber.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the
International Criminal Court.

Biography of President Song (

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For more information about the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation held in Kuala Lumpur 9-10 March 2011, contact Dr. David Donat Cattin, Director of International Law and Human Rights Programme, Parliamentarians for Global Action, tel. +31.62.331.8581, email donat at pgaction.org.

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