The International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot be used as a venue to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte following a failed impeachment bid, an ally at the House of Representatives said on Wednesday, May 17.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said Partylist Representative Gary Alejano of Magdalo may have to wait for five more years or after the President has finished his term before going to the ICC where the chief executive could be tried for alleged crimes against humanity.
After the House committee on justice junked his impeachment complaint against the president, Alejano said his group may consider going to the Hague-based international court.
Fariñas labeled as “wrong propaganda” the move by Alejano to file an impeachment complaint and the plan to go to the ICC.
“The ICC is a criminal court. Kailangan iyong ating criminal courts have not acted or refused to act on the crimes committed by the person…crimes against humanity or war crimes,” he said.
Fariñas said, however, that the impeachment proceedings at the House was an administrative action to remove the President from office.
“So, maghintay muna sila. Kaya nga nila gusto ma-impeach dahil hindi mo naman puwedeng idemanda si Presidente while in office. Kaya nga maghintay sila after six (6) years, pero gusto nila magmadali, gusto nila maalis para mafile-an nila ng criminal case,” he said.
(So, they should wait first. That’s why they want him impeached is because they can’t file a case against the president while in office. That’s why they should wait after six years. But they want to rush, they want him out so that they can file a criminal case.)
In the impeachment complaint, he added that allegations on the crimes against humanity were frequently mentioned.
“Nilalagay nila iyon para gagamitin lang nila sa propaganda nila—crimes against humanity. Hintayin nila matapos yung term ni Presidente, charge him with crimes against humanity before the criminal courts,” he said.
(They put these allegations for their propaganda — crimes against humanity. They first wait for the term of the president to end and then charge him with crimes against humanity before the criminal courts.)
Fariñas added: “Iyong ICC kasi parang court of last resort na sa worldwide global community. Halimbawa, iyong isang dictator d’yan, dami na nyang genocide, dami na nyang pinapapatay. Syempre wala naman umaaksyon dahil dictator nga e. Eto iyong pwede kang pumunta sa ICC, dahil meron syang mga biktima, katulad ng sa Bosnia. Dito naman napakalayo naman ng sitwasyon dito, pero alam mo na propagandist itong mga ito. Sorry, wrong propaganda.”
(It’s because the ICC is like the court of last resort in the global community. For example, there is this dictator, je has been committing genocide, he has killed so many. Of course, nobody can take action because he is a dictator. This is when you can go to the ICC because there are victims like those in Bosnia. The situation here is far from it. But these people are propagandists. Sorry, wrong propaganda.)
In April, lawyer Jude Sabio filed a 77-page complaint before the ICC, alleging that Duterte and 11 other officials should be held liable for crimes against humanity in connection with the nationwide crackdown on drugs.
The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression — the Statute’s four core international crimes.
The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, together with other 123 state parties, after ratifying it in August 2011.