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Harry Roque isn’t lone Filipino in ICC counsel list anymore

Two Filipino lawyers have been admitted to the International Criminal Court’s list of counsels, contrary to lawyer Harry Roque’s claim that he is the lone Filipino on it.

Joel Ruiz Butuyan, president of the Center for International Law (Centerlaw) and Roque’s former law partner, appears on the latest list of counsel released by the ICC on June 2.

Roque made the claim starting 0:02 seconds in a Nov. 27 Tiktok and YouTube video titled “Simplehan po natin, malilitis ba ng ICC si FPRRD kung babalik tayo sa ICC?”:

Alam niyo po, hindi sa nagbubuhat ng sariling bangko pero ako lang po yung Pilipino na admitted doon sa tinatawag ng list of counsels ng ICC. Kami po yung mga abogado na pupwedeng humaharap sa ICC. At sa ngayon po kaisa-isang palang na Pilipino ako d’yan sa listahan na yan (You know, not to boast, but I am the only Filipino admitted to what is called the list of counsels of the ICC. We are the lawyers who can appear before the ICC. As of now, I am the sole Filipino on that list).

In the video, Roque was discussing the ICC’s supposed ineligibility to try former President Rodrigo Duterte, for whom he had served as presidential spokesperson, for his alleged crimes during the drug war. (See related fact check on ICC retains jurisdiction over PH crimes before March 2019)

ICC's counsel list releasd on June 2, 2023 shows Joel Butuyan as a member

Roque was indeed the only Filipino in the ICC’s April 6, 2022 list. However, the ICC’s latest release included Butuyan, who is also a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a UP Law alumnus like Roque and a licensed law practitioner in the Philippines and the United States .

Butuyan obtained degrees in law and economics at the University of the Philippines and master of laws at the College of William and Mary.

The ICC website defines the list of counsel as members who may practice before the Court as defense counsel, legal representatives for victims, duty counsel or ad hoc counsel. (LG)


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