De Lima slams Duterte’s ‘flimsy excuse’ to avoid ICC investigation, prosecution

De Lima slams Duterte’s ‘flimsy excuse’ to avoid ICC investigation, prosecution

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has disproved Duterte’s wrongful
defense on the non-publication of the Rome Statute to save himself
from investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) for the thousands of killings under his regime’s murderous drug

De Lima made the statement after Duterte, in what she called a “flimsy
excuse,” recently claimed that he cannot be placed under the
jurisdiction of the ICC and its processes because the Rome Statute was
“not published by the Bureau of Printing.”

“That may be the case, but only if Duterte is defending himself from
prosecution under a municipal or domestic law enforceable within
Philippine jurisdiction,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No.

“But he is not. He will soon be investigated and prosecuted under an
international treaty known as the Rome Statute whose effectivity is
governed not by municipal laws, but by its own provisions, i.e.,
through ratification,” she added.

De Lima further stressed that Duterte is grasping at straws in last
ditch efforts to save himself from ICC’s probe because “he very well
knows that the ICC can go after him, otherwise, he will not devote so
much time disparaging and belittling the international tribunal.”

During his recent televised public briefing, Duterte reportedly
reiterated that he will never cooperate in ICC’s pending investigation
into his administration’s bloody war on drugs, claiming that he
decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute effective March 2019 because
then-president Joseph Estrada was not aware of the agreement.

De Lima explained that municipal laws of effectivity do not bind a
treaty body, such as the ICC, saying that once the Philippines
submitted its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute, it
effectively and fully became a State party to the Rome Statute.

“To follow Duterte’s novel reasoning would now mean that the
Philippines has not effectively ratified any international treaty
since the enactment of the Civil Code of the Philippines, including
ratification of its membership to the UN, ASEAN, and every other
international body of importance to the country,” she said.

De Lima lamented how Duterte is “willing to obliterate all Philippine
instruments of treaty ratification, making it an international pariah
of not being a State party to any treaty ever entered into by States
of the modern world” just to save himself and his death squads from
ICC investigation.

“If Duterte is to be followed, then the DFA might as well prepare to
be stripped of its embassies and consulates abroad, and our
ambassadors and consuls shorn of their diplomatic immunity because,
after all, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was never
published by the Bureau of Printing before it was ratified by the
Philippines,” she said.

Then outgoing ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced last June
14 that she has sought permission for a full-blown investigation to
follow her office’s preliminary examination into the allegations
against Duterte and others involved in the current regime’s drug war.

Bensouda said that a preliminary examination found reason to believe
crimes against humanity had been committed during Duterte’s crackdown
on drugs between July 1, 2016, and March 16, 2019. Bensouda also
recommended to investigate killings in Davao from 2011-2016. (ai/mtvn)

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