Law commission

Duterte government appoints Harry Roque to International Law Commission

Roque, a former human rights lawyer before becoming Duterte’s spokesman, is seeking membership on a body that proposes rules and standards for the United Nations

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, spokesperson for controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is set to become a member of the United Nations International Law Commission.

The Philippine government nominated Roque to be one of 34 people to be named to the UN body in November, during the UN General Assembly.

Roque is among 11 nominees for eight seats allocated to Asia-Pacific states, according to a list posted on the ILC website on Wednesday, June 16.

China, Japan, Vietnam, India, Korea and Thailand are among the other Asian countries that have made nominations.

Roque on Thursday, June 17, thanked Duterte and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for the nomination.

“I am very grateful to the President and Secretary Locsin for the nomination,” Roque said.

If elected, Roque will serve a five-year term as an ILC member beginning January 1, 2023.

He however clarified that if he is elected to the ILC, it should not hinder a possible electoral candidacy in 2022 because it is “not a job”, involves no salary and only requires that members meet. twice a year. year.

Asked by Rappler if Duterte had asked him to apply to become a member of the ILC, Roque said: “It was something that could not have happened without the agreement of the president, because it had to be about ‘an official appointment.’

But the spokesperson said that if elected to the ILC, he, as a member, would not participate in the work of the commission as a public official.

What is ILC?

The ILC was established in 1947 by the United Nations General Assembly to undertake studies and make recommendations “for the purpose of… encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification,” according to the commission’s website.

Lawyer Romel Bagares, who previously worked for the Center for International Law, a firm co-founded by Roque, said the ILC “proposes rules and standards to be adopted by the United Nations system or states.” He called it “a very prestigious position for scholars of international law”.

Roque, who was a human rights lawyer and professor before becoming Duterte’s spokesperson, suffered a reputational blow to many in academia and the legal profession for championing Duterte’s many controversial policies. administration.

Most recently, Roque gave an impassioned defense of Duterte and his bloody campaign against illegal drugs after former International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to investigate Duterte for crimes against humanity. –