Members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers from 12 countries signed an open letter distributed to missions of the United Nations, opposing Harry Roque’s candidacy for the International Law Commission of the UN, over his role as the official spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The letter was covered by PhilStar and The Inquirer, among others:

We, the undersigned members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and its national associations respectfully register our firm OPPOSITION to the candidacy of HERMINIO “HARRY” ROQUE JR. to the UN International Law Commission.

The IADL is a worldwide body of democratic lawyers and jurists from over 90 countries and territories with UN ECOSOC Consultative Status. IADL has contributed to the development of international law through the years and has helped to establish fundamental concepts of international and domestic law. Its campaigns have led to changes in international humanitarian law like the universal acceptance of the importance of the right to self-determination and the protection of national human rights in arguments before UN bodies and international courts.

It is from this perspective and practice that we consider as inappropriate and unacceptable the candidacy of Philippine lawyer Mr. Roque to an international body mandated to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification”.

As official spokesperson of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who is currently facing investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for the extrajudicial killings and other violations in his so-called “drug war,” Mr. Roque has arrogantly defended and justified even beyond the “call of duty” his principal’s attacks on human rights, justice, due process, and the rule of law.

He has also openly undermined international accountability bodies and mechanisms like the ICC, the UN Human Rights Council and its special mandates, and the UN Office High Commissioner for Human Rights concerning the most egregious human rights violations against his own people.

Mr. Roque has 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.

IADL opposes the nomination to the International Law Commission of representatives of governments violating international law notably the Charter of the United Nations and or the Charter of Human Rights.

To allow Mr. Roque to be elected to the Commission, therefore, is incompatible with its mandate, may contaminate its reputation and prestige, and might unduly compromise its credibility. At its core, his election will be adding insult to the irreparable injury to the victims of continuing human rights violations in the Philippines.

We, therefore, urge your Permanent Mission not to give Mr. Roque the undeserved pleasure and privilege of joining the ILC by withholding from him your precious vote.

  • November 2021
  1. Jitendra Sharma (India)

IADL President Emeritus

  1. Jeanne Mirer (US)

IADL President

3. Jan Fermon (Belgium)

IADL Secretary General

4. Micol Savia (Italy)

IADL Transitional Secretary General

  1. Beth Lyons (US)

IADL Alternate Representative to UN (New York)

6. Evelyn Dürmayer (Austria)

IADL main representative at the United Nations in Vienna

  1. Aurora d’Agostino (Italy)

Giuristi Democratici

  1. Oscar Alzaga (México)
  2. Adda Bekkouche (Belgium)
  3. Professor Bill Bowring (UK)

Birkbeck College

University of London

  1. Ezgi Çakır (Turkey)
  2. Marjorie Cohn (US)

National Lawyers Guild

  1. Fausto Gianelli (Italy)
  2. Krish Govender (South Africa)

National Executive Committee

National Association of Democratic Lawyers

  1. Maria Lucrecia Hernandez (Venezuela)

abogada y docente

Asociación Venezolana de Juristicas

  1. Fabio Marcelli (Italy)

Centro di Ricerca ed Elaborazione per la democrazia /

Gruppo d’intervento giuridico internazionale

  1. Osamu Niikura (Japan)

Professor emeritus

Aoyama Gakuin University

  1. Walid Okais (France)

Droit Solidarite’

  1. Vanessa Ramos (Puerto Rico)

Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)

  1. Jun Sasamoto (Japan)

Secretary General

Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)

  1. Thomas Schmidt (Germany)

Co-Secretary General

European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)

  1. Barbara Spinelli (Italy)

Avvocata, Bologna

  1. Paolo Solimeno (Italy)

Executive Committee,

Giuristi Democratici

  1. Ceren Uysal (Turkey)

Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD)









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