Miriam to join Bill Gates in elite law group
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been invited to join several international luminaries in the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome.

Santiago, who is running for president in this May’s elections, will be part of the IDLO’s International Advisory Council.

IDLO is an inter-governmental body exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law. Among its members are Microsoft founder Bill Gates; former Ireland president Mary Robinson; former Senegal president Abdou Diouf; Abdel-Latif Al-Hamad, chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development; Albie Sachs, former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; and former US ambassador Thomas Pickering.

The IDLO describes the members of the advisory council as “international legal and development professionals.”

“We combine dedication with expertise in a variety of legal systems to promote access to justice and improve the lives of the most vulnerable,” according to the IDLO website.

As part of the IDLO International Advisory Council, Santiago will “provide critical, forward-looking guidance on the issues IDLO tackles in order to make a culture of justice real for all the people of the world,” IDLO director-general Irene Khan said in a letter to the senator.

Khan said its advisory council is composed of “individuals of international reputation for extraordinary leadership in addressing rule of law, justice and development issues.”

“I am honored yet humbled to receive the invitation from IDLO. It challenges me to place my lifetime career as a lawyer and legislator in a larger frame of service for the pursuit of justice and international development,” Santiago said.

Santiago was previously elected as a judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC), the independent tribunal that prosecutes individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

She was forced to give up her post in the ICC due to her bout with chronic fatigue syndrome and later stage four lung cancer.

Santiago’s ailment has prevented her from attending the plenary sessions of the Senate for more than 18 months.

In October last year, Santiago announced that her cancer has been arrested, and that she is running for president in the 2016 elections.

“If elected in May, and with the consent of IDLO, I expect to serve both as president of the Philippines and member of the International Advisory Council,” Santiago said.

ABDEL-LATIF AL-HAMAD ABDOU DIOUF ACIRC ALBIE SACHS ARAB FUND BILL GATES CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA IDLO INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL SANTIAGO
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