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ICC preliminary examination, political persecution — Malacañang

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

(L-R) ICC logo and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — Petitions questioning the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute), are still pending at the Supreme Court.

The group of petitioners reiterates that Senate’s concurrence is still needed in withdrawing from the Rome Statute.

Atty Gilbert Andres, the counsel for the petitioners, said in a phone interview that they are hoping that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of their appeal to dismiss the government’s move to pull out from the ICC.

Meanwhile, The ICC will push through with its preliminary examination on the Duterte Administration’s war on drugs efforts which resulted in a number of extra judicial killing (EJK) incidents from the police anti-drugs operations.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement posted in the ICC twitter account on Monday (local time), that the ICC has jurisdiction over all crimes committed by a country while it was still a member of the tribunal even though its withdrawal from the international court has already taken effect.

She said, “Pursuant to Article 127.2 of the [Rome] Statute, and based on prior ICC judicial ruling in the situation in Burundi, the court (ICC) retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time in which the state was party to the Statute and may exercise this jurisdiction even after the withdrawal becomes effective.”

Article 127 of the Rome Statute says a country’s “withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.” 

Malacañang, however, said Bensouda has another agenda in coming to the Philippines aside from working on the preliminary examination.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said, “It (ICC) has been politically persecuting the heads of states.”

Panelo had earlier said that the government will order the deportation of ICC prosecutors who will conduct investigation in the country.

The tribunal’s decision to conduct a preliminary examination stemmed from the complaint filed by Atty. Jude Sabio against President Rodrigo Duterte before the ICC in the Hague, the Netherlands in April 2018.

The Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC Rome Statute took effect on Sunday, March 17. – Maris Federez