Roque : Sen. De Lima is a polluted source

Roque : Sen. De Lima is a polluted source

The battle seems to have shifted in the International Criminal Court (ICC)…  not a chance if the Duterte administration is to be asked.

Critics of President Rodrigo Duterte  has always been trying to get the ICC involve in purely Philippine affairs, earlier part of this year , Jude Sabio, lawyer of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, sued the President for crimes against humanity at the ICC for the spate of deaths in the drug war.

And now, it seems the President has found the right man to fight for him so to speak in the ICC, last week Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque the ICC not to be used as a means to advance the political agenda of government critics following calls for the tribunal to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings in the course of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. *

"concentrate all her efforts in clearing her name in the non-bailable and heinous criminal cases pending against her" instead of engaging in "political grandstanding."- Roque on De Lima (photo credit to Philstar)
In a statement delivered on behalf of the Philippine government at the 16th assembly of state parties to the Rome Statute at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Harry Roque stressed that the ICC is a “court of last resort” with a complementary, not primary, jurisdiction for the prosecution of serious crimes of international concern.

"We urge the court to resist attempts by some sectors to treat the court as a venue to pursue political agenda to destabilize governments and undermine legitimate national authorities," Roque said.

“It is indeed actions like these that politicize and dilute the Court’s mandate which ultimately undermines national efforts to punish and prosecute crimes covered by the Statute and derail current efforts to achieve universality of the Rome Statute," Roque said.

Roque, reminded that the Philippines agreed to be bound by the Rome Statute on the principle of complementarity, that the ICC will only exercise jurisdiction if local courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute such crimes cognizable by the international tribunal.

“The Philippines has long since had laws and a functioning justice system able to investigate and prosecute such crimes in its territory even before the country ratified the Rome Statute,” he pointed out. 

As such, he said that consistent with Philippine sovereignty and the principle of complementarity, the ICC’s “deference to genuine efforts at the national level to go after crimes must be upheld.” *

The Palace spokesperson warned that the Philippines may withdraw from the ICC if the principle of complementarity is violated by the tribunal.

“We trust that the Court’s exercise of its mandate will respect national processes…. A violation of the very basis for our consent -- which is complementary -- will constrain us to reassess our continuing commitment to the Court and the Rome Statute,” Roque said.

Roque hits back at Sen. De Lima

Over the weekend the detained senator accused Roque of "spinning" statements after the latter asked ICC not to meddle on alleged human rights violations related to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

In reply to the criticisms of the senator, the Presidential Spokesperson said that in a statement "We should no longer give credence to anything that comes from Senator Leila de Lima as this is from a polluted source, who was accused of drug trafficking by at least 13 witnesses".

Roque even made an unsolicited advice to De lima to just "concentrate all her efforts in clearing her name in the non-bailable and heinous criminal cases pending against her" instead of engaging in "political grandstanding."

De Lima also said that Roque can’t "get away with murder so easily" by withdrawing from the ICC.

Roque, brushed the comment of the senator relating that her lack of understanding of the principle of complementarity in international law. *

"This is no longer surprising since her professional practice was limited to election laws. To reiterate, it must first be shown that the State is unwilling or unable to prosecute crimes in order for the International Criminal Court to intervene," Roque said.



Report from PNA


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