The International Association of Democratic Lawyers opposed Secretary Harry Roque’s nomination to the United Nations’ International Law Commission (ILC) in a statement, joining the list of over 200 groups who have expressed their stance—including Roque’s former employer and alma mater, the University of the Philippines Diliman.
The IADL is a United Nations-accredited organization with members in over 90 countries and was founded by lawyers in 1946 who participated in the Nuremberg trials and helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The presidential spokesperson first announced that he was seeking one of 34 seats on the commission in September, an advisory body to the United Nations made up of law experts from around the world that is tasked with helping write up international law.
The ILC is set to make its vote on November 12.
Edre Olalia, IADL’s transitional president told Coconuts that Roque’s potential election to the commission would taint his term for the next six years and undermine the ILC’s credibility.
Olalia added that its 24 signatories included UN representatives, ICC-accredited counsel, international tribunal lawyers, international law experts, law professors, and progressive lawyers.
In its letter, the IADL said that Roque’s nomination to the ILC was “inappropriate and unacceptable,” citing his actions as presidential spokesperson where he “arrogantly defended and justified beyond the ‘call of duty’ (President Rodrigo Duterte’s) attacks on human rights, justice, due process, and the rule of law.” President Duterte faces investigation by the International Criminal Court for extrajudicial killings and other violations under his administration’s drug war.
The IADL added that allowing Roque’s election to the ILC was “incompatible with its mandate, may contaminate its reputation and prestige, and might unduly compromise its credibility.”
The group wrote that Roque repeatedly mocked and antagonized those who opposed his even vilified and casted aspersions on his own colleagues in the legal profession, his peers in his very own alma mater, and other Filipino and solidarity groups in the Philippines and in New York who have interposed bona fide objections to his nomination and candidacy.
The IADL also said that Roque’s election to the seat “will be adding insult to the irreparable injury to the victims of continuing human rights violations in the Philippines,” and urged the commission to deny the spokesperson the “undeserved pleasure and privilege of joining the ILC.”