Complaint vs. Duterte closed after ICC pullout: Atty. Harry Roque

Complaint vs. Duterte closed after ICC pullout: Atty. Harry Roque

Its over and done with.

Former Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque on Monday said the International Criminal Court (ICC) complaint against President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ended effectively after the court failed to launch a preliminary investigation before the country's withdrawal from the ICC took effect on Sunday- March 17.

"Malinaw ang Rome Statute. Para magpatuloy 'yan dapat nagsampa ng preliminary investigation ang prosecution bago naging epektibo ang pagbibitiw natin o pag-kalas natin sa ICC (The Rome Statute is clear. For it to prosper, the prosecution should have filed a preliminary investigation before our withdrawal from the ICC took effect)," Roque told reporters while attending the kick-off ceremony of the 7th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law in Pasay City.

The ICC office, inset is Atty. Harry Roque (photo credit to owner)

Roque explains that a preliminary examination initiated against President Duterte in 2018 is not the actual probe yet.

 "Kinakailangan na bago mag-withdraw, para magkaroon ng jurisdiction ang ICC ay mayroon nang preliminary investigation, and since walang ganon, patay na po, ibinasura na lahat ng reklamo laban kay President Duterte (For ICC to have jurisdiction, there should be preliminary investigation even before the withdrawal and since there was none, the complaint against President Duterte is junked)," he said.

The withdrawal  from ICC took effect last Sunday a year after the Philippine government served its notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute to the United Nations.

This makes the Philippines the second country to withdraw membership from the ICC, the first one to withdraw was the state of Burundi in 2017.

Rqoque, further emphasize that the ICC is the court of “last resort” which could only assume jurisdiction when the national government has failed to address its international duties.

If there is a problem with the President of the country for example he has violated a law, Roque said the complaint should have been filed before a Philippine court first such as the Ombudsman which has the power to investigate and recommend impeachment proceedings against an incumbent or sitting president.

"Gumagana po ang mga hukuman natin at gaya nga ng sabi ko kanina insulto para sa kahit sinong Filipino na ihahambing ang ating mga hudikatura sa mga bansa na ngayon ay dinidinig ng ICC. Sudan, Burundi, parang 'di naman ganyan ang mga huwes sa Pilipinas at walang dahilan para umakto ang ICC (Our judicial system is working well and as I have said, it is an insult for Filipinos to compare our judicial system with that of countries being heard by the ICC -- Sudan, Burundi — our justice system is not like theirs and there are no reasons for ICC to act on)," he added.

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Report from PNA

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