Lawyers’ group opposes Roque’s ILC nomination

Published September 13, 2021, 12:06 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Free Legal Assistance Group

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) has opposed the nomination of Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque to the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC).

In a letter to the ILC dated Sept. 12, 2021, FLAG said:

“Mr. Roque does not possess the qualifications for a seat at the Commission. While he has degrees in law and has taught Public International Law, he is a political partisan who has actively demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and, with specific relevance to the Commission, has undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law.”

FLAG attached to its letter documented pronouncements of Roque.

Harry Roque

“These documented public pronouncements, as spokesperson of the current Philippine President, ill-befit one who seeks to become a member of the Commission,” it said.

The letter — signed by FLAG Chairman Jose Manuel I. Diokno and the association’s secretary general, deputy secretary general, and regional coordinators – asked the UN-ILC “to peremptorily disregard the nomination of Mr. Roque and remove him from consideration for a seat in the Commission.”

The letter stressed: “The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) strongly objects to the nomination to the International Law Commission (ILC) of Mr. Herminio Harry L. Roque from the Philippines.”

It said that the “membership in the Commission is reserved to those persons of recognized competence in both doctrinal and practical aspects of international law.”

“His (Roque’s) public defense of extrajudicial killings, his belittling of the competence and jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and his cavalier disregard of the effects of domestic violations of human rights, among others make him ill-suited for the work of the Commission,” FLAG said.

“His pronouncements have been made, alternately, with sneering contempt for the plight of victims or a callous attempt to justify the same with misplaced humor,” it said.

“His has used his knowledge of international law to undermine the protections that international law provides under a regime of human rights and the rule of law,” it added.

It pointed out that Roque’s motivation in doing these are “clearly for political gain as he has not been discreet about his plans to seek elective office.”

“All these demonstrate a patent lack of integrity and character that make him utterly unworthy to even be seriously considered as part of the International Law Commission,” it said.

“He will bring no honor to the post he seeks, instead he will tarnish the same irreparably,” it stressed.

Last June, Malacanang announced that it nominated Roque for a post at the ILC.

The candidates are nominated by United Nations member states and Roque is among the 11 nominees from Asia Pacific states vying for the eight seats in the region.

There are 34 seats at the UN law body and those elected have a five-year term.

The term of the current members will expire at the end of 2022 with the new members set to start this coming January.