In this March 22, 2019 photo, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario speaks while former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales listens at a press conference in Manila.
AFP/Ted Aljibe, File
Del Rosario, Morales insist ICC did not dismiss communication vs China
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - December 6, 2019 - 10:08am

MANILA, Philippines — Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales insisted that the International Criminal Court did not dismiss their communication against China.

In a report issued Thursday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the former government officials' complaint against China's alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea.

The ICC noted that while the alleged crimes of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials occurred in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, it cannot be considered a territory of the state.

The preliminary examination also found that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the complaint as the alleged perpetrators are from China, which is not a state party to the Rome Statute.

"Accordingly, the Office concluded that the crimes allegedly committed do not fall within the territorial or otherwise personal jurisdiction of the Court," the report read.

Del Rosario and Morales, however, said the ICC prosecutor's latest report only strengthened their resolve.

"The ICC Prosecutor did NOT dismiss our Communication. The Prosecutor welcomes 'new facts and evidence' to proceed with the case and we are providing them," Del Rosario and Morales said in a joint statement.

The ICC prosecutor stated in her report that her office does not possess investigative powers at the preliminary investigation stage, which is only based on facts and information available.

"Let them gloat in the meantime. This is just the beginning. Abangan," Morales said.

The ICC report noted that its findings in the preliminary examination may be reconsidered upon new facts or evidence, which Del Rosario and Morales vowed to provide.

Along with the notice that the alleged crimes of Chinese officials did not fall within the ICC jurisdiction, Del Rosario and Morales were also advised of the "possibility of submitting further information regarding the same situation in the light of new facts and evidence."

The two former government officials accused China of intentionally and forcibly excluding Filipinos of accessing resources in the West Philippine Sea, engaging in massive land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands that resulted in damage in marine life in the area and tolerating illegal fishing practices of Chinese nationals.

The communication alleged that China committed crimes against humanity and other inhumane acts over its activities in the West Philippine Sea.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO CHINA CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA XI JINPING
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