Philippines coalition for the ICC condemns Duterte plan to withdraw from ICC

Protesters and supporters carry banners and placards as they march with the hearse of slain Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old student, in suburban Caloocan city north of Manila, Philippines.
ATTY. Ray Paolo J. Santiago PCICC Chairperson
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Statement of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court on the declared withdrawal from the ICC

WE CONDEMN IMPUNITY

Philippines - We are appalled with the declaration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the Philippines to withdraw being a state-party to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court.

The Philippines has been the stage of war crimes and other related atrocities during World War 2 when its people and communities fell victim to the atrocities of war. It has also witnessed similar barbarities brought about by a dictatorship and its internal armed conflict. It is no surprise then that Filipinos and the Philippines as a country advocated and participated actively in the negotiation and adoption of the Rome Statute.

The Filipinos value and stand for accountability by addressing impunity against the most atrocious crimes, particularly genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crime of aggression.

It took quite a number of years again for the Philippine government to ratify the Rome Statute after being signed in 2000. Yet with the tireless efforts of human rights advocates and with the strong support of champions within the Senate led by the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the Executive Branch of government finally submitted the Rome Statue to the Senate for the eventual concurrence of ratification.

Again, the Filipino people shouted and stood for justice.

The current move of President Duterte to withdraw from the ICC goes against the aspirations of the Filipino people for justice and accountability. It goes against addressing impunity for the most atrocious crimes. The Filipino people’s hopes and dreams for holding human rights violators accountable should not be doused by a single man’s fear of accountability.

We condemn to the strongest terms possible the continued attack on democratic and human rights institutions that promote and bring about justice. We condemn impunity.

The planned withdrawal of President Duterte does not save him from any accountability that he may be subjected to since the withdrawal is not immediate. But what it does is that it again exposes Filipinos to possible atrocious crimes without resort to justice and accountability. Sadly, this move is anti-people.

We challenge the President to think of the Filipino people and stop thinking of just himself.

- ATTY. RAY PAOLO J. SANTIAGO 
PCICC Chairperson

Coalition says ICC was set up to protect people, Inquirer.net

On Thursday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office became the venue of the press conference by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), a network of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that worked for the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

“When despotic leaders and authoritarian leaders try to defend themselves against the principles of the Rome Statute and other instruments [like the ICC], we should always take into account that these instruments were crafted for the protection of the people against such crimes against humanity,” said former CHR Chair Etta Rosales, also a former chair of the PCICC.

It was quite the reverse with the President’s men, Rosales said. “Why are they protecting him? The ICC was set up precisely to try despotic leaders who get away with murder because impunity is the central question, the abuse of power.”

PCICC Chair Ray Paolo Santiago said Mr. Duterte ought “to change his mind and realize that this is not about him.”

“This is a mechanism that would address impunity for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.

Duterte's statement on Int'l Criminal Court withdrawal