De Lima: PH withdrawal from ICC a ‘huge mistake’
MANILA, Philippines — The fact that a complaint has been filed by former Philippine government officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) “clearly and unmistakably” shows that the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the court is a “huge mistake,” oppositionist Sen. Leila de Lima said Monday.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales recently filed a communication on behalf of Filipinos and the hundreds of thousands of Filipino fishermen “persecuted and injured” by China’s island-building and occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
They pointed out that Xi Jinping committed those acts against the fishermen before the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute.
De Lima noted that before the withdrawal the Philippines could raise any act of aggression, assaults against humanity, and other heinous crimes of international concern committed by a foreign power to the ICC.
However, the senator said, this was no longer the case after the withdrawal.
“With the effectivity of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC on March 17, 2019, it now becomes doubtful if the Philippines can still go to the ICC to assail a foreign power’s acts of aggression committed after said withdrawal,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame.
She noted that China’s acts of aggression that were raised by Del Rosario and Morales in their ICC communication “will not be the last to be committed by a foreign country or leader” against the Philippines.
“Unfortunately, any future act of aggression by any foreign country committed after March 17, 2019, can no longer be raised by the Philippines to the ICC because of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute,” she added.
The senator said that the country’s withdrawal from ICC “seems to have also benefitted foreign aggressors, to the detriment of the Philippines’ interest and national security.”
“Duterte’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute becomes nothing more than a self-serving act that also favored his Chinese patron, with the Philippines as the major loser,” De Lima said.
“In short, the grievously ill-advised and arbitrary unilateral withdrawal from the Rome Statute was a colossal blunder,” she added. /atm
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