Don't be venue for destabilization, Roque tells ICC

Don't be venue for destabilization, Roque tells ICC

One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Thursday warned it might be forced to “reassess” its membership in the International Criminal Court, which it said opposition groups might use to destabilize the Duterte administration.

Manila’s warning came amid strong calls on the ICC to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

READ: Amnesty International calls on ICC to probe drug war, ‘slaughter’ of children

Speaking at the 16th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Roque said the ICC should be a “court of last resort.”

Under the ICC’s principle of complementarity that governs the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction, the tribunal can only act if local authorities are unable to prosecute international crimes.

According to Roque, the Philippines had laws and a “functioning criminal justice system” to deal with crimes committed within its territory.

“The Philippines, along with the rest of the States Parties, anchored its consent to be bound by the Rome Statute on the principle of complementarity,” Roque said.

“A violation of the very basis for our consent — which is complementarity — will constrain us to reassess our continuing commitment to the Court and the Rome Statute,” he added.

READ: Palace hints at possible Philippines withdrawal from ICC

The assembly is the ICC’s management oversight and legislative body that is composed of representatives of the states which have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute — the treaty which established the court as the central institution of global criminal justice system.

Roque links ICC cases to 'destablilization'

In the same speech on Thursday, Roque also urged the ICC to “resist” any attempts to use the court as a political tool to destabilize governments.

“We urge the Court to resist attempts by some sectors to treat the Court as a venue to pursue political agenda to destabilize governments and undermine legitimate national authorities,” Roque said.

“It is indeed actions like these that politicize and dilute the Court’s mandate which ultimately undermine national efforts to punish and prosecute crimes covered by the Statute,” he added.

Last June, opposition solons Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) filed a supplemental communication against Duterte and other officials before the ICC.

It was a supplement to the communication filed by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio last April 24, titled "The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: Mass Murderer.”

Security officials had repeatedly said they had not monitored any attempts to overthrow the Duterte administration despite talks from government allies that critics of the drug war are plotting to destabilize the government.

War on drugs

Duterte has stoked international alarm for activating his ferocious anti-drug campaign which has been a hallmark of his three-decade political career.

Human rights watchdogs say most of the fatalities in the crackdown were extrajudicial killings committed by cops, adding that Duterte could be liable for crimes against humanity for giving police the “license to kill.”

Citing Western criticism over the conduct of his bloody anti-narcotic campaign, Duterte last year said he might follow Russia and leave the “useless” ICC.

He said the international court failed to understand the reasons for his drug war as he reiterated that police are only killing in self-defense.

This was after the ICC's chief prosecutor warned that Philippine officials could face the court for alleged state-sponsored summary executions in the drug war.

The court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression committed since July 2002.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday wrapped up its hearings on the petitions challenging the constitutionality of Duterte's war on drugs. This was the first time the crime-busting leader’s controversial anti-drug drive was brought to the high court.

In one of the hearings, Solicitor General Jose Calida, who faced the magistrates to defend the government’s war on drugs, said the “petitions are disingenuous moves to destabilize the Duterte administration and sow anarchy."

But Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said that he finds it "disturbing" to have "tribune of the people" label the petitions as destabilization efforts.

Leonen, who was first to interpellate Calida, pointed out that government officials cannot be onion-skinned, to which Calida agreed.

vuukle comment
  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with