Philippines citizens file ICC complaint accusing Duterte of murder

Philippine families file ICC complaint accusing president of murder during his war on drugs, who in turn accuses ICC of politicisation.


The complaint, the second filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC), charges President Rodrigo Duterte with crimes against humanity in violation of the Rome Statute, including extrajudicial killings during the war on drugs.

Inhumane acts

The complainants state ‘ the extra-judicial killings, mass arrests, roving searches, and other inhumane acts in the Philippines under the auspices, order, command and policy of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte threaten the core principles of humanity itself, subsuming individual victim experiences, and even state borders. It is a critical issue for a much broader concept, closely linked to the Martens Clause: that of mankind, and the dictates of public conscience.’ The complainants are also seeking  an award of ‘individual reparation for the death of their loved ones, and for moral harm, physical and psychological injuries that they suffered,’ and collective reparations ‘in the form of support for safe housing and sanctuary, support for income-generating activities, education aid and psychological support.’ However, President Duterte announced the Philippines’s withdrawal from the ICC in March. In a 15-page letter to the media, he declared that the Philippines will immediately withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, which was ratified by the Philippines in late 2011.

ICC politicised

President Duterte claimed that the agreement was immediately voidable because it was signed fraudulently, insisting that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over him. He alleged that the Rome Statute was never published in the Official Gazette, the official journal of the Republic of the Philippines, and thus never effective in the country. He stated, ‘under our law, particularly the New Civil Code, a law shall become effective only upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Devoid of the legal required publication, the Rome Statute is ineffective and unenforceable.’ He added, ‘an international law cannot supplant, prevail, or diminish a domestic law,’ and invoked presidential immunity as yet another reason why the ICC has no jurisdiction over him. The police implementing his drug war were part of legitimate government operations that ‘lacked the intent to kill,’ and if there were deaths of suspects it was because police were merely defending themselves, he said. President Duterte accused the ICC and the United Nations (UN) of allowing themselves to be politicised.

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