Palace on ICC complaint vs Xi: It may be a futile exercise
MANILA, Philippines — The filing of a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) “may be a futile exercise,” Malacañang said on Saturday.
“The filing of the complaint may be a futile exercise. The ICC has no jurisdiction over China,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo issued the statement after Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales filed a complaint on behalf of Filipino fishermen “persecuted and injured’’ by China’s aggressive island-building and occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Panelo said that while Morales and Del Rosario may have the right to file a complaint against Xi, the case may be dismissed given that China is not a member of the ICC.
“Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario may have the right to file the complaint against Chinese President Xi Jingping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as individuals over a perceived violation committed against their country or their countrymen,” he said.
“They could be motivated with righteous indignation over the establishment of structures on some parts of the South China Sea which have been ruled to be rightfully belonging to us. To their minds, the establishment of those structures endanger the environment as well as our fishermen,” Panelo added.
Panelo said if the case is dismissed by the ICC for “lack of jurisdiction,” critics “will have a field day criticizing the President.”
“They can claim that it was a mistake for the Philippine government to withdraw its membership from the Rome Statute as the ICC can no longer serve as a venue to prosecute President Xi for an alleged commission of crime against humanity.”
“We reiterate, however, that the Philippines under the Duterte administration is engaged in a diplomatic negotiation, through a bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM), over the West Philippine Sea issue. We do not need the help or disturbance of a biased tribunal known to politically prosecute heads of state, the very reason why powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, to name only a few, have either withdrawn their membership as State Parties from the Rome Statute or declined to be members of the ICC,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the ICC complaint against Xi will not affect Philippine-China relations.
Morales nevertheless remains optimistic on the case filed before the ICC, citing a popular Biblical account of courage.
Del Rosario meanwhile welcomed the President’s “thoughtful reply” on the ICC complaint against Xi. /muf
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