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Roque: ICC Case vs Duterte Insults PH Courts

UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque said on Monday the case against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an insult to the “vibrant, healthy, and mature” Philippine judiciary.

Roque, an international law expert, said ICC’s intervention is questionable because the Philippines is not a ‘banana republic.’

The country, he says, has a fully-functioning government that is accountable to the rule of law.

“The ICC can only exercise criminal jurisdiction if it can establish that domestic courts are unwilling or unable to carry out fair proceedings. Neither is true,” Roque explained.

In November last year, the ICC granted the government’s deferral request and suspended its formal investigation of alleged crimes against humanity by the government.

Roque said the deferral of proceedings allows the President and his administration to prove that the state has fulfilled its obligation to go after and punish law violators relative to its anti-drug war campaign.

“To my knowledge, the government has submitted further evidence showing that our competent courts have prosecuted or convicted many law enforcers involved in illegal police operations and summary executions,” Roque said.

Roque said that being an ICC member should not mean surrendering national sovereignty to investigate and prosecute crimes that have taken place within the country’s territory.

“That is why I find it grossly insulting whenever colleagues in the law profession claim that we have unable or unwilling domestic courts since the Philippines officially joined the ICC in 2011,” he said.

Roque cited police officers involved in the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in 2017, and the policeman who killed a mother and son in Tarlac in 2020 had all been sent to jail.

Roque, the founder of the Center for International Law (CIL), said his organization has filed cases and secured a conviction against police officers involved in murder cases. The CIL has also defended journalists who faced libel cases in court.

Roque recalled that two former Philippine presidents had been convicted of crime right after their term of office, which is another proof that the local judiciary has functioned well over the years.

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