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Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago: The Best Philippine Candidate to the International Criminal Court

Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Photo from miriam.com.ph)

Editor’s Update: Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was one of those who garnered the highest number of votes during the December election of judges in the ICC.  She will be serving a 9-year nonrenewable term as judge in the ICC.


Undeniably, the Philippines has interesting figures to count on when it comes to “Who’s Who” in “legal luminaries” who are best qualified and commendable to compete among the best of the world’s outstanding, highly-competent, incorruptibly independent (specifically, among the best candidates from all “states parties” or members in the organization) geniuses in law and justice profession.  The Philippines must be  at that sobering state of timidity and modesty should she compete herself in the international arena of “Who’s Who” in law and justice luminaries without this “woman of brilliance”, a figure of incorruptibility, an icon of moral integrity and undaunted courage and expertise, and a grandiloquent legal guru that, without falter, upholds impartiality and independence, logic and reason, and justice within the bound of just law.  This woman is Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a crème de la crème in the Philippine legal luminaries.

The Philippines chose Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to represent the country (as state party) as candidate to the post of judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at elections on December 12 to 21 this year (2011).

Her Some Major Qualifications and Achievements

Miriam Defensor-Santiago is, currently, a member of the Philippine Senate. She had marked a distinguished, stellar career as presiding judge in Regional Trial Court before the Philippines stunned her in politics. She became commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, minister of Agrarian Reform, and elected thrice to the Philippine Senate.  She, also, served as chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations and a very distinguished and high standard professor in the fields of constitutional and international laws and an author of various legal publications.

In addition, from 1979 to 1980, Dr. Santiago served as legal officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and as legal consultant of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1982.

In 1988, Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago received the Magsaysay Award (an Asian version of Nobel Prize) for government service. She also received other several awards and titles for her exemplary public service and outstanding expertise in the field of law.

In her deep purpose to help Filipinos and at the very least save the country from dark corruption and other forms of criminality, Miriam ran for president under People’s Reform Party (a political organization that she, herself, a founder and president) in the 1992 presidential election.  She has consistently won the hearts of Filipinos from surveys to precincts until a widespread, string of power blackouts after the first five days of canvassing.

Miriam was also nominated as Philippine candidate to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2008.

Academic Achievements

Besides being a consistent class valedictorian from elementary to high school, Miriam Defensor-Santiago graduated magna cum laude in her course BA Political Science from the University of the Philippines – Visayas. She pursued her Bachelor of Laws in the University of the Philippines – Diliman and graduated cum laude.

As DeWitt Fellow, she finished her Master of Laws after only 6 months, instead of 2 years, and as Barbour Scholar, she completed her Doctor of Juridical Science after only a year, instead of 2 years both in the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in the United States of America.

Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is also an alumna at Harvard Law School and at Oxford University. She was a visiting fellow at Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law in Cambridge University, United Kingdom and at St. Hilda’s College in Oxford University.

Presently, Dr. Mirriam Defensor-Santiago is the Philippine candidate to the ICC as being highly qualified for her competence in international law, international humanitarian law, law of human rights, and as being having extensive experience in legal and judicial work.

The International Criminal Court Headquarter in The Hague, Netherlands (File from wikipedia)

What is the ICC or the International Criminal Court?

The International Criminal Court is governed by the Rome Statute (the adopted legal basis for establishing the permanent ICC on July 17, 1998). The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based international criminal court to try crimes committed only within a specific time-frame and during a specific conflict and to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes such as crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The ICC is an independent, separate from the United Nations, yet it maintains cooperative relationship with the former.

The ICC is based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The elections of six (6) new ICC judges from the nineteen (19) nominated candidates are under the strict determination of the Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections (Panel). This Panel ensures election of the most highly-qualified judges to the ICC through a transparent and merit-based process.  The Panel is composed of highly-esteemed experts that represent legal systems from the five (5) geographical regions recognized at the United Nations.

The six (6) new elected judges will serve to a non-renewable nine-year terms.


  1. International Criminal Court
  2. Note Verbale, Miriam Defensor-Santiago
  3. Curriculum Vitae, Miriam Defensor-Santiago
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  3. [...] in the Philippine Senate, or as if they underestimate the intelligence and capacity of the future ICC judge with a doctor of laws Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, along with Senator Pia Cayetano and the [...]

  4. [...] Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago: The Best Philippine Candidate to the International Criminal Court (rqjavines.wordpress.com) [...]

  5. Thanks for liking this post. Happy blogging!

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