Trillanes chides Duterte for pulling out of ICC
Update (This version adds President Duterte’s reason for withdrawing from the ICC.)
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV dared President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to “man up” and face all the allegations against him.
Trillanes issued this new challenge after Duterte announced the Philippines withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Mr. Duterte, magpakalalaki ka at harapin mo ang mga akusasyon laban sayo; 20,000 na Filipino na ang pinapatay mo. Maliwanag yan at nasaksihan yan ng buong bansa. Malapit na ang araw ng paniningil,” the senator said in a statement.
[Mr. Duterte, act like a man and face the accusations against you; you have killed 20,000 Filipinos. That’s clear and the whole country has witnessed that. The day of reckoning is near.]
Duterte has been accused before the ICC of committing crimes against humanity for his administration’s bloody war on illegal drugs.
It was lawyer Jude Josue Sabio who filed complaint in April 2017.
Trillanes and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano have also filed a supplemental communication with the ICC.
Trillanes said the country’s withdrawal from the ICC would have no legal effect on the cases already filed before it since the the withdrawal, based on the treaty, would take effect only a year after the notification.
“Therefore, all his offenses committed as documented in the Attorney Sabio’s communication, as well as our own communication, which I filed together with Congressman Gary Alejano, and offenses which he may yet commit up to a year from now are still covered by the ICC,” Trillanes said.
“This is but a political move by Duterte because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC,” he added. “Hindi niya ito kayang takutin gaya ng ginagawa nya sa mga korte natin.”
[He can’t threaten the ICC as he has been doing to our courts.]
The senator reminded Duterte of his own pronouncements that he would willing to be jailed and that he had not committed any crime against humanity.
“Now, Duterte, by withdrawing from the ICC, has practically admitted that he is guilty of the allegations filed against him,” he said.
Duterte justifies withdrawal from treaty
Duterte announced on Wednesday the country’s withdrawal from the treaty as there appeared to be a “concerted effort” between the United Nations special rapporteurs and the ICC special prosecutor to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings.”
In February, the ICC launched a preliminary examination into Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, which was criticized to have killed thousands of suspected drug criminals and have stemmed to alleged extrajudicial killings.
The President, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, has taken issue over the Philippines becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor.
Opened in 2002, the ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.
The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.
On Wednesday Duterte, a former lawyer, attacked the ICC’s preliminary examination into his anti-narcotics campaign saying it was “unduly and maliciously created.”
“It is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines,” he said.
In his statement, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration.”
“The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill,” he added.
But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was “deeply concerned” over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers.
Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.
Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.
But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a “court of last resort” and the Philippine courts were fully functioning. With a report from Agence France Presse/atm/ac
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