The Philippine Embassy in The Hague Is Honoring Lone Filipino Judge to the International Court of Justice


Cesar Bengzon was the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court from 1961 until his retirement in 1966. But that’s not his only claim to fame. 

In November 1966, Bengzon became the first-ever Filipino to be appointed to the International Court of Justice, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands.


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It’s because of this singular achievement that the Philippine Embassy in the Hague announced that it would honor Justice Bengzon by dedicating a sitting room at the ground floor of the newly renovated Chancery to him. 

The ICJ is an attached agency of the United Nations that settles disputes between states and offers advisory opinions on international legal issues. According to its profile, the ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. It’s a singular for a judge to be named to the panel, whose rulings are often cited in international law. 


"The Philippines has made significant contributions to the progressive development of international law in at least four areas: (1) the drafting of the United Nations Charter and, in particular, on the chapter on international trusteeship for non-self governing territories: (2) the articulation of key principles of the peaceful settlement of disputes as embodied in the Manila Declaration of 1982; (3) the development of the archipelagic doctrine in UNCLOS, and recently on clarifying key UNCLOS provisions on maritime entitlement and jurisdiction, and (4) the distinguished service of eminent Filipino jurists in international tribunals,” said Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya. “We Filipinos should take pride that we are not only receivers of international law, but actually shapers of it."

Several prominent international legal luminaries, including incumbent judges of the ICJ, will attend the ceremony, which is scheduled on July 19, 2022.

Keynote messages will be delivered by Judge Kirill Gevorgian, Vice President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and ICJ Judge Iwasawa Yuji. Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo will also address the assembly through video remarks.

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Also to be honored during the ceremony are Justice Florentino Feliciano, Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (1994 to 1995) and founding Member and then President of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (1995 to 2001); and Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, Judge of the International Criminal Court (2015 to 2021).   


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