Opinion Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

EDITORIAL - International commitments

The International Criminal Court steps in only when states are unable or unwilling to protect their citizens from genocide, crimes against humanity as well as war crimes. Such crimes are not being perpetrated in the Philippines, as far as the Duterte administration is concerned. The Philippines also has agencies that can investigate suspected cases of extrajudicial killings and arrest and prosecute those responsible.

As long as those agencies are functioning, there’s no need for Philippine officials to worry that they might one day have to face the International Criminal Court in connection with the bloody war on drugs. And there’s no reason for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute or the founding treaty that set up the ICC, the only court of its kind that protects people around the world from the offenses mentioned.

With the concurrence of the Senate, the Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute in 2011 and it went into force in the country in the same year. About a month later, then senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was elected as one of the ICC judges. But she was forced to quit in 2014 because she was battling the cancer that eventually claimed her life.

Santiago’s voice is missed in these days of endless killings. She might have issued the same reminder as the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who said recently that Philippine officials who order or encourage extrajudicial killings could find themselves facing the ICC.

That warning surely contributed to President Duterte’s remark that he might follow the example of Russia and withdraw from the ICC. Russia has not acceded to the Rome Statute so President Vladimir Putin’s announcement was chiefly symbolic. But his move can inspire heads of governments that have ratified the ICC treaty to do the same when they fear that they might face prosecution by the court for crimes against their own people.

When a state makes an international commitment, it must be prepared to stand by that commitment for the long term. Application of international rules does not constitute interference in internal affairs, but a state’s willing compliance with its own global commitments. This is what responsible members of the international community do.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The Philippines has benefited from international rules, and it is unhealthy for the country to keep threatening to break away from the community of nations or to disregard international agreements. If the Duterte administration believes it is doing the right thing in its war on drugs and criminality, it has nothing to fear from the ICC.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Opinion Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1