MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should have dismissed the complaint against President Duterte outright to prove the court has not been politicized.
“It should have been dismissed outright because she (ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda) knows the [local] courts are working,” Roque said in a Palace news briefing on Thursday, March 15. (READ: [OPINION] ICC: Complementarity, not exhaustion of remedies)
He called Bensouda’s greenlighting of the preliminary examination into the complaint filed by a Filipino lawyer a “wrong move” as now, the ICC will have to make do without the Philippines as a state party. (READ: FULL TEXT: Duterte’s statement on Int’l Criminal Court withdrawal)
“You have shown you can exercise power without accountablity….You are to blame if ICC becomes part of the dustbin of history,” declared Roque.
Asked what groups could have influenced the ICC on deciding on the complaint against Duterte, Roque named Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
“International lobby groups always ally themelves with the opposition. There are the human rights groups,” he said.
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Roque said that the Philippines’ withdrawal is a big loss to the ICC since the country was among its few Asian members.
With the withdrawal, it will be less likely for other Asian countries to ratify the Rome Statute and become ICC members, the Palace official said.
“This is the single biggest development in the life of the court itself,” said Roque.
He admitted, however, that he was the “strongest lobbyist for membership in the ICC” during the previous administration.
Roque said he is “saddened” by Duterte’s decision but agrees with it because the ICC “cannot just put aside the issue of sovereignty.”
“It saddens me. Our membership to ICC is our single biggest achievment but I agree with the President,” said Roque.
Lawmakers and lawyers have criticized the decision, saying such an important matter should have been thoroughly scrutinized first. – Rappler.com