‘Justice for EJK victims only through Rody’s ICC prosecution’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  There is no other recourse but to seek President Duterte’s prosecution before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity as the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings are not expected to obtain justice in the country.

This was the explanation made by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, who filed a complaint before the ICC prosecutor’s office in The Hague on Monday accusing Duterte and 11 other officials of crimes against humanity in the course of waging his war on drugs.

Sabio said all attempts to hold Duterte accountable for the thousands of extrajudicial killings since he was mayor of Davao City until now that he is president did not succeed as he has resolutely blocked efforts to investigate and prosecute him.

“Have we heard of any investigation being conducted against President Duterte? It’s impossible for us to have an investigation here against him,” Sabio told ANC in a telephone interview.

“So we have no other recourse but to go to the ICC in order to achieve international criminal justice because in the Philippines, nothing will happen,” he said.

Sabio said he cannot see Duterte “investigating himself,” especially since he has expressly stated that he wants policemen and even civilians to kill criminals.

He pointed to Duterte’s repeated public statements that he will promote police officers who kill drug pushers and pardon those who are charged for doing so.

Sabio, lawyer of self-confessed hit man Edgar Matobato of the Davao death squad (DDS), on Monday filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Duterte and 11 other officials for alleged crimes against humanity in the course of waging the drug war.

Matobato accused Duterte before a Senate inquiry last year of masterminding the killings of over a thousand criminal suspects and opponents when he was still mayor.

In his 77-page complaint entitled “The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer,” he asked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to start the process of investigation leading to the President’s arrest, detention, and conviction.

Aside from Duterte, other officials were also included in the communication for violating different provisions of the Rome Statute – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre; Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; former interior secretary Ismael Sueno; Supt. Edilberto Leonardo; Senior Police Officer 4 Sanson Buenaventura; Supt. Royina Garma; National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran; Solicitor General Jose Calida; and Senators Richard Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court responsible for trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, which are the Statute’s four core international crimes.

The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, together with 123 other state parties, after ratifying it in August 2011.

Sabio said the complaint was filed “in the name of international criminal justice, and to once and for all end this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines” as key government institutions failed to act on the cases of extrajudicial killings.

“His strategy, system or policy of crime control then in Davao City was to ‘erase’, eliminate or kill suspected criminals such as snatchers, robbers, and drug pushers/addicts through his now infamous Davao death squad. Even while President Duterte is already president of the Philippines, his system or strategy of erasing, eliminating and killing persons suspected of crimes is still, in fact, being undertaken in Davao City up to the present,” it stated.

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