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12 DECEMBER 2008
RP CALLS ON UN TO ASSERT ITS POWER AND MIGHT VS TERRORISM
NEW YORK—The Philippines has called on the United Nations to assert its power and might to confront and demolish terrorism in any part of the world even as it sought progress in the world body's efforts to come up with a universally accepted definition of terrorism.
"We must resist the temptation to attribute to terrorism some mythic magnitude that makes it larger than life. Terrorism is man-made. Therefore it can be solved by men and women of resolve," Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations said in his statement before an open debate of the Security Council on Tuesday, 9 December.
''There is one body much greater than the men and women of resolve. It is the United Nations of 192 member states. It does not only have the resolve, it has the will, the power, the might and the resources to counter and solve terrorism and face to demolish, if it wishes to, every act of terrorism in any part of the globe."
"With the deadly tentacles of terrorism spreading over many places, the latest of which was in Mumbai, India, the United Nations must now, more than ever, assert its power and might," he said.
At the same time, Ambassador Davide expressed hope that further progress could be made in efforts to define terrorism.
"There should now be a universally accepted definition of terrorism and a condemnation thereof as a crime with a recognition of the criminal intent of striking fear and terror," he said.
The Philippine envoy noted that although progress has been made, the Ad Hoc Committee established by the General Assembly to draft a comprehensive convention on international terrorism is meeting some disagreements among member-states regarding the scope of the convention.
"This convention can be the proper document for the definition of terrorism," the former Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice said.
Ambassador Davide said the United Nations lost its first opportunity to define the crime of terrorism when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was deliberated upon and approved by 160 member states. He said that statute could even have included terrorism as one of the crimes cognizable by the ICC.
In his statement, Ambassador Davide reiterated his call for national legislatures to enact laws defining and punishing terrorism as a crime that could be treated as "crime in violation of the laws of nations."
He said this will not only make applicable the doctrine of universal jurisdiction but will also provide for concurrent jurisdictions between international courts and domestic courts and allow the latter to yield jurisdiction to international courts according to treaty obligations.
The ambassador said that among the strong and effective deterrents to the commission of crimes are the expeditious prosecution and trial of cases against the offenders and rendition of just, fair and impartial judgment
"Delays in the prosecution, trials and judgment against terrorists will give wrong signals to them and their co-conspirators. These would either embolden them to assert their strength and make a mockery of the weakness of the processes against them or give them reason to claim that their comrades in detention are deprived of due process and then instigate the escalation of their terroristic acts.
"Continuous trials of these cases must be a standard practice, In this regard, the United Nations must do something," Ambassador Davide added. ###
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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