Dissension in the Court: February 2011

The following relates to select decisions promulgated by the High Court in February 2011 where at least one Justice felt compelled to express his or her dissent from the decision penned by the ponente.

1.         No Retreat, No Surrender (Velasco vs. Carpio)

The Rome Statute

In December of 2000, the Philippines became a signatory to the Rome Statute, an international treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC), through which the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established with “the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern x x x and shall be complementary to the national criminal jurisdictions.”  The serious crimes covered by the Rome Statute pertain to those considered grave under international law, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.  To date, however, the ratification by the Senate of the Rome Statute is still pending.

Included among the provisions of the Rome Statute are certain obligations imposed on parties to the treaty to surrender persons charged with covered crimes upon the request of the ICC.

The Non-Surrender Agreement

In May of 2003, through an Exchange of Notes, the Philippine government agreed to, and accepted the terms of, the United States proposed non-surrender bilateral agreement (NSA).  The NSA in pertinent part, provides that current or former Government officials, employees (including contractors), or military personnel or nationals of one Party that are present in the territory of the other Party shall not, absent the express consent of the first Party, be surrendered by the second Party to any international tribunal or to a third country for purposes of being surrendered to an international tribunal, unless it is to a UN Security Council tribunal.

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