Withdrawal from ICC to put PH into ‘quagmire of impunity’—CenterLaw | Global News

Withdrawal from ICC to put PH into ‘quagmire of impunity’—CenterLaw

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 04:58 PM March 15, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the treaty that establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC) would plunge the country “deeper into the quagmire of impunity,” a human rights lawyers’ group said on Thursday.

Center for International Law (CenterLaw), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s former law firm, said that Duterte’s decision gives the impression that the police and other state agents evade accountability for serious human rights violations.

“President Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court gives the false impression that government agents, especially our police force, can continue to perpetuate a culture of impunity and that that they can evade international accountability for crimes against humanity,” CenterLaw President Joel Butuyan said in a statement.


“CenterLaw shares our people’s fear that this attempt to withdraw from the ICC will plunge the country deeper into the quagmire of impunity – one that has already claimed thousands of lives,” he added.


Duterte on Wednesday announced the withdrawal from the Rome Statute, citing the apparent “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.”


Butuyan disputed the administration’s claim that the ICC is not “effective nor enforceable” in the country because it was not published at the Official Gazette after being ratified in 2011.

He cited the doctrine of transformation under Philippine jurisprudence, which states that an international treaty automatically becomes part of the domestic law upon concurrence of the Senate.

“There is no further requirement of publication in any newspaper of general circulation to make the treaty binding upon the Philippines, as the President contends,” he said.

“In fact, the Philippines now has an International Humanitarian Law Act, Republic Act 9851, which allows our courts to try cases cognizable by the ICC under the principle of complementarity,” he added.


Roque, however, said that the doctrine of transformation does not apply to treaties that are penal in character, like the Rome Statute.

“But this is penal in character; it makes a whole world of a difference,” he said in a press briefing.

Butuyan also disputed Duterte’s “erroneous” claim that the Philippines became an ICC member on false representations, noting that the country had a leading participation in the drafting of the Rome Statute in 1998.

“The Philippine delegation brought with them to the Rome Conferences in 1998 our rich jurisprudential heritage in international criminal law, borne of our country’s tragic experience in World War II, and embodied in the landmark war crimes cases of top generals of the Japanese Imperial Army –Tomoyuki Yamashita and Shegonori Kuroda,” he said.

The Philippines became the 117th country to sign the Rome Statute after Senate concurrence on Aug. 23, 2011, after a long fight by human rights lawyers and advocates, including Roque.

Roque accused ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of politicizing the preliminary examination against Duterte, saying that she should have had junked the complaint filed by lawyer Jude Sabio for lack of jurisdiction. /je

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READ: Palace accuses ICC of politicizing Duterte

TAGS: Centerlaw, Duterte, Human Rights, ICC, Impunity, Lawyer, withdrawal

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