Law commission

Roque convinced that the opposition against him proves that he “deserves” a position on the International Law Commission

The Palace spokesman defends himself as the calendar of elections to the prestigious body approaches

In what he called a “statement of truth and gratitude”, Palace spokesman Harry Roque argued that critics against his candidacy for a place on the International Law Commission “would actually recognize why [he deserves] to be a member of the Commission.

Roque, a lawyer who once presented himself as a champion of media freedom and human rights, made the statement on Wednesday, November 10, days after other lawyers said they opposed his appointment to the body of international law.

The International Law Commission (ILC) is a body of the United Nations (UN) that helps develop legal rules and standards for adoption by UN member states. Membership of the ILC is considered a prestigious position among scholars of international law.

Individuals, groups and even institutions opposed his candidacy. The National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) said earlier that Roque “does not morally deserve to be part of this august international legal body”. His high school alma case, the University of the Philippines Integrated School, also opposed his candidacy for the prestigious post.

“My candidacy for the International Law Commission is based on my vast expertise and experience as a lawyer, activist, teacher, politician and civil servant. I can bring to emerging issues of international law a principled and practical perspective. I know the laws that need to be codified, the gaps where lex ferenda evolves, the gray areas that are clarified, and the competing interpretations of different legal traditions that need to be reconciled. I also understand the political factors that limit the law and are shaped by the law,” he said.

In the lengthy November 10 statement, Roque defended his role as President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman, saying he was “doing [his] as a civil servant of my country and as a spokesperson for its democratically elected President.

“A public servant, such as a diplomat, lawyer, administrator or spokesperson, does not choose the policies he will implement. Policies are made by the people and their elected leaders, and a public servant follows them to the extent permitted by law. Otherwise, democracy and public order would be impossible,” said Roque, a former human rights lawyer.

“even leaders they dislike” are entitled to “a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”

Duterte’s spokesperson, however, claimed his critics were “wrong” in saying he had undermined international conventions for accountability and dispute resolution and was spinning legal concepts as a bearer. speech.

“I resolutely obeyed all institutions and rules of legal responsibility. I continued to do so as a public servant, expressing the views of the government in accordance with national and international law. It is not about undermining or misusing rules and institutions, but rather about following the law, advising my manager and performing my work in accordance with the law, which includes understanding opposing views on the how the law is interpreted and applied,” Roque said.

More than 177 Filipino lawyers signed a petition that was sent to the ILC asking the body not to elect Roque. This is in addition to previous submissions to the ILC. In the latest petition, the signatories said Roque “rationalised extrajudicial executions and tolerated the militarization of the law against activists, dissidents and the opposition.”

Roque is a former human rights lawyer and lawmaker who was appointed to the Duterte Cabinet in 2017. Since his appointment, he has taken opposing positions on issues he once championed in his past life as a advocate for the victims of a gruesome massacre, a slain Filipino transgender woman, the Filipino press and Filipino fishermen affected by China’s encroachment.

In a 2018 article, journalist Carmela Fonbuena said: “Love him or hate him, Roque is a man you would probably want on your team. But in November 2017, the little people champion thought it was time for a change. He became the spokesperson for the most powerful man in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte. Never mind that the president holds beliefs contrary to what he has fought for over the years.

New ILC members are expected to be elected on November 12, with the 77th session of the UN General Assembly starting on September 14. –