Miriam Santiago wins International Criminal seat

Feisty Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has "overwhelmingly" won a seat in the highly powerful International Criminal Court, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Tuesday (December 13, 2011).

DFA said Santiago is the first woman from an Asian developing state to join as a judge in the Netherlands-based international court.

ICC is an "independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," according to the court's website.

Santiago reportedly topped the poll's first round, effectively gaining a seat with 79 votes out of 104 valid votes, which DFA said was "an indication of the strong support from States Parties."

DFA noted that to be elected, candidates must receive two-thirds majority of the total number of votes cast, mostly States Parties voting.

"She was the first to be elected out of 18 candidates vying for six seats on the Court.  For the first round of voting, she bested candidates from every region," DFA said in a statement.

"This is the message that we emphasized in the campaign.  We are pleased that the international community has listened to us.  Indeed, it is a new day for the Philippines, a day of pride for our country and a day of honor, knowing that this is a tremendous responsibility and mandate placed upon our compatriot," DFA Secretary Alberto del Rosario said.

Sen. Santiago recently went on a four-month campaign to get States Parties' support.

In October, Santiago said she would be resigning from the Senate should she win a seat in the International Criminal Court.

"I'll have to resign [as senator]. Isn't that good news for my enemies? I would have to live in The Hague. I will look like a European and speak like a European and I will be as snooty as a European when I come back," she reportedly said.

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