WILL IT PROSPER? | Pres. Duterte says ICC has no jurisdiction over China

1 month ago

MARCH 21, 2019 — President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed the complaint filed by Filipino fishermen and two former high-ranking officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities in the West Philippine Sea.

“They are entitled to file a case, they are Filipino citizens, and I think we have to defend our position vis-a-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case and I would say they don’t have a jurisdiction over this country and of China. Mas lalo na sa China, so we just go along that line,” Duterte told reporters in the 122nd Philippine Army Founding Anniversary.

Duterte also said the complaint will not affect the diplomatic relationship of the two countries.

“I’m sure they don’t. The Philippines is a democratic country. Anybody can file a suit against anybody. But whether or not it would prosper, or whether or not we have the jurisdiction, that’s something else. Remember, China is not a member of ICC,” Duterte said.

On March 15, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudman Conchita Carpio-Morales joined fishermen in filing a complaint before the ICC two days before the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect.

The complaint stemmed from China’s aggressive island-building and other atrocious activities, saying they constitute crimes against humanity.

It added that China’s moves in the waterway have affected the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Filipino fishermen.

“Though widely publicized, these atrocious actions of Chinese officials in the South China Sea and within Philippine territory remain unpunished, and it is only the ICC that can exact accountability on behalf of Filipinos and the international community, respecting the rule of law,” the two former officials said in a communication filed with the ICC before the effectivity of the country’s withdrawal from the Rome statute on March 17.

In the letter, del Rosario and Morales urged ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to conduct a prelimenary investigation on the matter.

“We urge you to initiate a preliminary examination on this matter, if only so the Court can apprise itself of Chinese crimes committed not only against the Filipino people but also against people of other nations, which crimes are already known to the international community,” they said.

The government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute had come after the ICC launched a preliminary examination on alleged extra-judicial killings committed by the Duterte administration in its war on drugs.