Posts Tagged ‘International Criminal Court’

Philippines President Duterte: International Criminal Court could still investigate drug war killings in the Philippines

May 16, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte is approaches the plane that will take him back to the Philippines at Beijing Capital International Airport in China on May 15, 2017. PPD

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged Tuesday that allegations he induced extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs could be raised to the International Criminal Court after an impeachment case failed in the House of Representatives.

“Yeah, he can go ahead. He is free to do it. This is a democracy,” Duterte said in reaction to a lawmaker saying he was considering bringing a case against the Philippine leader to the court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The impeachment complaint killed by a House committee Monday accused Duterte of multiple murders and crimes against humanity for adopting a state policy of inducing police and vigilantes into killing more than 8,000 suspected drug users and dealers outside the rule of law. The complaint also accused him of corruption, unexplained wealth, and taking a “defeatist stand” against China’s in the territorial row in the South China Sea.

“It is true that there are deaths — is there a drug war where no one is killed?” Duterte said. “But not in the character and kind that I was dished out, including ordering the killing of a child.”

The dismissal of Rep. Gary Alejano’s complaint was widely expected since the House is dominated by Duterte allies. But the president’s critics hope the procedure could bolster a lawsuit filed against him by a Filipino lawyer before the ICC for alleged extrajudicial killings by showing that domestic efforts to stop Duterte have failed.

The dismissal of the complaint, filed in March, bars any new impeachment case against Duterte until next March.

Since taking office in June, Duterte’s war on drugs has killed 7,000 to 9,000 suspected drug dealers and addicts, according to human rights groups. The government refutes that, releasing data on May 2 showing nearly 4,600 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and homicides found to be drug-related.

During Monday’s hearing, Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, the majority floor leader, asked Alejano repeatedly if he had personal knowledge of allegations he made in his complaint.

Alejano said he had no personal knowledge as a witness, but that he had personal knowledge as a complainant based on official records, affidavits of witnesses and Duterte’s public pronouncements. Several lawmakers pointed to that distinction to say Alejano’s allegations were hearsay.

Forty-two of 49 committee members then voted to declare the complaint insufficient in substance.

A frustrated Alejano told reporters that he’ll discuss with his colleagues from the Magdalo party whether they should file their own complaint before the ICC.

He said it was clear that the impeachment procedure “was railroaded” and that the House “is not independent.”

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/16/1700541/duterte-admits-allegations-could-be-raised-intl-court

“Islamic State Acts of Genocide” — Almost 10,000 Yazidis killed or kidnapped — But true scale of horror may never be known

May 10, 2017

More than 3,000 people were executed out of a total of 10,000 killed in matter of days in 2014, a new study finds

By Lizzie Dearden
The Independent

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‘Devil worshippers’: torture inflicted on the Yazidi people by Isis includes rape, stealing children and forced conversions – researchers say the true scale of suffering cannot be charted

The true scale of the genocide inflicted on Yazidis by Isis during its brutal sweep through Iraq may never be known as thousands remain in captivity, researchers have warned.

A new study published in weekly journal PLOS Medicine concluded that an estimated 9,900 members of the ethnic minority were killed or captured in a matter of days in August 2014.

Of that figure 3,100 were murdered, with almost half executed by gunshot, beheading or being burned alive, while the rest died from starvation, dehydration or injuries during the Isis siege on Mount Sinjar.

Researchers estimated that 6,800 other Yazidis were kidnapped in the brutal campaign, with over a third still missing at the time of the survey.

Lead author Dr Valeria Cetorelli warned that the toll may even be higher because of the reliance of survivors to report deaths and disappearances.

“Because the attack was so indiscriminate, in many cases entire families were captured together if they didn’t escape in time,” she told The Independent.

“It is possible that no one managed to escape, so there are no survivors and zero possibility of being included in our survey.

Remains of more than 20 Yazidis found in Iraq mass grave

“At least one household member needed to survive to report the killing and kidnappings of others.”

While adult men were most likely to have been executed by militants, almost all of the victims who died after fleeing up Mount Sinjar were children under the age of 15, the research found.

Isis’s punishing siege, seeing tens of thousands trapped without food, water or shelter in 50C heat, sparked the first US airstrikes against the jihadi group in Iraq, alongside British aid drops.

The operation, and an effort by Kurdish forces on the ground, let Yazidis flee through a safe corridor through Syria to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, where more than 300,000 remain while others stayed in Sinjar or moved onwards to Syria and Turkey.

The study, conducted by researchers in the US, UK, Israel and Iraqi Kurdistan, found that children have been disproportionately affected by the genocide.

As well as making up the vast majority of deaths on Mount Sinjar – constituting 93 per cent of deaths – they are also the least likely to have escaped Isis captivity.

Dr Cetorelli, who is also a research officer at LSE and a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said escapees documented torture, sex slavery, forced religious conversion and recruitment as child soldiers.

“We heard several accounts of girls being gifted or sold to Isis fighters as sex slaves and the boys being forced into training camps,” she added.

“More than one third of the kidnapped are still missing and it wasn’t possible to determine whether they are still alive or not.

“This is really an ongoing genocide because thousands of people are still in captivity.”

Several Isis propaganda videos have featured Yazidi child soldiers, while the terrorist group has also used magazines in attempts to justify the taking of thousands of women and girls as sex slaves.

Researchers said families who failed to escape were rounded up en masse and divided up as part of the “systematic” genocide that saw men and boys above the age of 12 separated and massacred if they refused to convert to Islam.

A woman who was 17 when Isis overran her village told how her 16-year-old brother was killed and nine-year-old brother enlisted as a child soldier, before she was kidnapped as a sex slave and raped by nine militants.

Dalal is among those who eventually escaped but thousands of women and children remain in Isis captivity almost three years after they were abducted, with some killing themselves.

Researchers, who questioned 1,300 households of displaced Yazidis living in Iraqi Kurdistan, said suffering continues despite Iraqi government forces driving Isis back out of the region.

“It’s almost three years since the attack and the people are still displaced,” Dr Cetorelli said.

The Yazidi children of Isis’ training camps

“The Sinjar region has been taken back from Isis but it has been almost completely destroyed so it will be not possible for them to go back for a long time.

“The situation gets worse and worse every day for those living in camps.”

The UN formally recognised Isis’s campaign as genocide in June 2016, saying the situation was “ongoing”, but a lack of formal research on the death toll has hampered international action.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria found that after classifying Yazidis as “devil worshippers” because of their links to other religions and mysticism, Isis “sought to erase” the population.

It said the group used killings, sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, inhuman treatment and forcible transfer to further its aim, as well as the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, the forced conversion of adults and kidnapping children to be brought up by Isis militants.

The UN said “there can be no impunity” for the crimes, urging the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court or a tribunal, as well as protecting the long-persecuted Yazidi minority.

Dr Cetorelli urged the international community not merely to focus on the events of 2014, but to help the survivors and attempt to rescue remaining captives.

“Three years ago there was a lot of attention but it’s still ongoing and the international community must retain its attention,” she added.

“We hope that these estimates will support a formal genocide investigation to hold the perpetrators to account.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-islamic-state-yazidi-sex-slaves-genocide-sinjar-death-toll-number-kidnapped-study-un-lse-a7726991.html

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© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on December 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
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Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark"s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The building bombed in December 2016 is next to St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, seat of the church’s pope. Reuters Photo

A Christian employee at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The interior of the church, where Christians had gathered, was also hit in the explosion. AP photo

Image result for Reina nightclub attack, photos

Islamist gunman Abdulgadir Masharipov killed 39 people  in the Reina nightclub shooting on January 1, 2017, in Istanbul. © Dogan News Agency/AFP/File

 (December 11, 2016)

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmoni, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella. (Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
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26 July 2016
A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish84 year-old Father Jacques Hamel was giving morning Mass when the Islamist attackers stormed his church. AFP

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Duterte seeks to play dealmaker in South China Sea disputes — Seeking favour with China? — Will the Philippines and other ASEAN nations win or lose?

May 7, 2017

The brash Philippine leader likely will use his chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to wrest concessions from China during this month’s meeting with China’s president

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President Rodrigo Duterte (C) presides over the plenary session among ASEAN leaders, including Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Some ASEAN leaders said they were “railroaded” by Duterte. Photos from ASEAN

By Richard Heydarian
South China Morning Post

The Philippines’ controversial leader, Rodrigo Duterte, got his first crack at global leadership by chairing the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Manila late last month.

During the three-day mega-event, the Filipino president suavely hosted his fellow Southeast Asian leaders, who came to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the regional body’s founding. Southeast Asian leaders discussed a range of key challenges facing the region, from terrorism to transnational crime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Duterte wasted no chance to use his rotational chairmanship of the Asean to defend his controversial war on drugs, which has come under heavy criticism from Western powers and international media.

“[R]elations [with Dialogue Partners] can be made more productive and constructive if the valued principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Asean Member States is observed,” he said. The remarks were aimed, unmistakably, at foreign powers that have been critical of Duterte’s human rights record.

This emerging transactional approach is part of Duterte’s ‘art of the deal’ vis-à-vis the South China Sea disputes.

Standing before a largely sympathetic audience composed mostly of autocratic leaders with sketchy human rights records, the Filipino president called upon Western powers to “learn to respect” Asean nations and treat them as “sovereign equals”.

Just days earlier, human rights lawyer Jude Sabio sought to initiate a criminal case at the International Criminal Court against Duterte, accusing him of committing crimes against humanity. The European Union – and potentially even the United States – is expected to scale back economic aid to, and adopt punitive sanctions against, Manila, including raising tariff rates on Philippine exports.

In this Monday, May 1, 2017, photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a hat from captain Hu Jie of the Chinese navy’s missile destroyer Changchun during the ship’s goodwill visit in Davao city in the southern Philippines. Yu Wei/Xinhua via AP

Yet, Duterte stood his ground and even promoted his signature war on drugs, which has struck a chord across the region. During the summit, Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah pushed for closer bilateral cooperation. Months earlier, Indonesian police chief Budi Waseso openly suggested a Duterte-style approach to the drug menace in his country.

Several Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, are also deeply worried about the prospects of the establishment of a “distant caliphate” by the regional affiliates of the so-called Islamic State. The Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf group, in particular, has rapidly expanded its geographical reach – as well as kidnapping and ransom operations – in maritime Southeast Asia’s porous borders.

 Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders link arms during the opening ceremony of the Asean summit in Manila last month. Photo: Reuters

During the summit, member states agreed to step up their joint effort to combat transnational crime as well as terrorism. The highlight of the summit, however, was the constant back-and-forth negotiations over the Asean’s stance on the South China Sea disputes, which has pitted China against several member states, particularly Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Months earlier, former Philippine foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay threatened to disrupt increasingly warm relations between Duterte and China by claiming that several regional states mentioned the Philippines’ arbitration case as a potential agenda for Asean.

In particular, some senior officials, especially in the Philippines, have suggested that the arbitration award could be used as a reference point for drafting a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea.

During the summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged the Asean to “solve [the disputes] immediately” and come up with a “common stand” on the issue. But true to his earlier promise, Duterte refused to raise the Philippines’ landmark arbitration case against China, which boycotted the legal proceedings and flatly rejected the final award.

 The Philippine navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar anchors near Thitu Island during a visit by Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to the Spratly island on April 21. Photo: AFP

More surprisingly, however, Duterte vetoed proposals by some regional states, particularly Vietnam, to mention China’s reclamation activities and the increasing militarisation of the maritime disputes.

The term “serious concern”, which repeatedly appeared in previous Asean statements, was also dropped from the final statement. By all measures, this was a slam-dunk diplomatic victory for China, which prefers to manage the disputes on a bilateral, rather than multilateral, basis.

“Your president has defined the outcome … already,” a dispirited diplomat, likely from Vietnam, told the Philippine media. “Some are frustrated over the turn of events.” A visibly frustrated Filipino diplomat complained how his country ended up “being lumped together with Cambodia and Laos in protecting Chinese interests [in Asean] at all costs”.

The Filipino leader, however, promised to finalise a framework of a code of conduct before the end of the year. Still, he came under a flurry of criticism at home and abroad for taking a soft position on the South China Sea disputes, much to the delight of China.

In all likelihood, timing and national interest played a key role in shaping Duterte’s position as the chairman of Asean. Since he is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping this month for the Belt and Road Initiative summit, the Filipino president was more than eager to avoid any diplomatic conflict with Beijing.

During his meeting with Xi, Duterte will likely seek concessions in exchange for preventing Asean from adopting a tough and robust position on the South China Sea disputes. He could not only ask for larger Chinese infrastructure investments, especially in his home island of Mindanao, but also negotiate a modus vivendi, which will allow Filipino fishermen and military to gain unimpeded access to disputed land features and resources. This emerging transactional approach is part of Duterte’s “art of the deal” vis-à-vis the South China Sea disputes.

Richard Heydarian is a Manila-based academic and author of Asia’s New Battlefield: US, China & the Struggle for Western Pacific

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2093047/opinion-duterte-seeks-play-dealmaker-south-china-sea

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NYT, Washington Post condemn Trump for Duterte invite

May 2, 2017
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the media following the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Manila, Philippines, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Duterte suggested Saturday to his American counterpart to back out from an intensifying standoff with North Korea not in surrender but to avoid risking a nuclear “holocaust” that could affect Asia immensely. AP/Bullit Marquez
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MANILA, Philippines — Two American newspapers on Tuesday slammed the invitation of US President Donald Trump for President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House, saying that the American leader should instead condemn the brutality the Philippine leader’s war on drugs.

In separate scathing editorials, The New York Times and The Washington Post condemned Trump’s invitation to Duterte, which was given during their conversation late Saturday night (Manila time) right after Manila hosted the leaders of Southeast Asian nations for a regional summit.

The Times said that Duterte was not a man who should be welcomed to the White House considering the number of killings that has transpired under his rule in Davao City during his time as its mayor and now that he is the president of the Philippines, and his insult directed at former President Barack Obama.

“The mayhem got so bad that last week a Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of nearly 10,000 people over the past three decades,” The Times said.

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“During the last administration, Mr. Duterte disrespected President Barack Obama by calling him the “son of a whore” and threatened to abandon his country’s alliance with the United States for one with China.”

It concluded: “This is obviously not a man who should be welcomed to the White House.”

The Times, which has been very critical of Duterte since he assumed the Philippine presidency in June last year, said that the decision to invite Duterte was against American values and would erode its reputation as a “moral compass.”

“Like so much else under President Trump, though, this idea has now been turned on its head and people are worried about the very survival of the values on which America built its reputation and helped construct an entire international system, including the United Nations. The latest example is Mr. Trump’s decision to invite Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, to the White House,” its editorial said.

Duterte has been critical of the US for raising human rights concerns over the war on drugs. In a visit to China last year, Duterte announced that he was separating from the US, a declaration that his spokespersons later clarified as the president merely emphasizing the Philippines’ shift to an independent foreign policy.

“I have separated from them so I will be dependent on you (China) for a long time but don’t worry we will also help,” Duterte said at the same venue.

America’s reputation at stake

The newspaper further said that although the US must work with its allies, Trump’s uncritical embrace of those who showed the least regard for human rights, rule of law and democracy would undermine America’s reputation.

“American presidents must work with foreign leaders of all kinds to advance the national interest. But Mr. Trump erodes America’s reputation when he uncritically embraces those who show the least regard for human rights, rule of law and democracy,” it said.

Although the Philippines is an ally, the newspaper says, Duterte is not a democratic leader nor a worthy ally because of the killings which have risen exponentially since his assumption of the presidency.

The Philippine government has denied that there are extrajudicial killings and has insisted that it upholds human rights. It has questioned the reports of up to 9,000 deaths attributed to the drug war.

The newspaper explained that Trump’s fondness for Duterte could be because of authoritarian tendencies and his loathing of checks and balances of the government. It mentioned Trump’s admiration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin as evidence of this tendency.

The Post said in its editorial: “A subtle U.S. policy would recognize the need for U.S.-Philippine cooperation without endorsing the contemptible offenses of the current president. Instead, President Trump has offered Mr. Duterte an unqualified embrace that effectively blesses his murderous campaign. In so doing, Mr. Trump sends Asians the message that there is no difference between China’s amoral foreign policy and that of this U.S. administration.”

Implied endorsement of drug war

The Washington newspaper also criticized the Trump White House for saying that “the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.” It said that saying the Philippines was “fighting very hard” amounted to saying that Duterte’s tactics have been appropriate and necessary.

“‘Fighting hard’ is one way — the wrong way — to describe the wanton killing by police and vigilantes of accused dealers and users. It implies that Mr. Duterte’s tactics are appropriate or necessary, which they are not. Mr. Trump ought to have shunned the Filipino leader until he reined in those practices. Instead, he invited him to the White House” The Post said.

It added that the invitation to Duterte was needed by Trump’s administration to counter China instead of to mobilize the region against North Korea over which the Philippines did not have any influence.

The Post also admitted the complex challenge Duterte posed to the American government. He was a democratically elected leader of an Asian ally needed to counter Chinese expansionism in the West Philippine Sea, yet is the “author’ of the extrajudicial killings of more than 7,000 people.

The Times has been very critical of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. It has published several articles detailing the government’s brutal crackdown against illegal drugs which has claimed thousands of lives. It has also regular issued excoriating editorials against the Philippine president, calling on the international community to condemn him and even to impose trade sanctions on the Philippines. In retaliation, Duterte has cursed the newspaper and told it to cease publication.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/02/1696020/nyt-washington-post-condemn-trump-duterte-invite

The Philippine bishop who is standing up to Duterte

May 1, 2017
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs on Jan. 30 in Manila. (CNS photo/Ezra Acayan, Reuters)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs on Jan. 30 in Manila. (CNS photo/Ezra Acayan, Reuters)

The case filed against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court in The Hague is a “very good step” toward stopping drug-related killings, a Catholic bishop said.

“It is our hope that this move will inject fear into the hearts and minds of the accused officials so that they will eventually and sincerely put a stop to these merciless killings,” said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.

Ucanews.com reported that the bishop said the International Criminal Court should “take serious action against the continuous and seemingly condoned violation of human rights in the Philippines.”

“Filing a complaint at the ICC is a good move for the whole world to know that crimes against humanity, seemingly sanctioned by the government, are being committed in this Christian country,” said Bishop Bastes.

Ucanews.com reported that a complaint of “mass murder” was filed against Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials for alleged crimes against humanity brought about by the drug-related killings.

Human Rights Watch reported in March that more than 7,000 people had been killed in either police anti-drug operations or in unexplained killings since Duterte took office June 30. In early March, Duterte’s allies in the Philippine House helped pass a measure reinstating the death penalty, with the primary goal of executing drug offenders.

The 77-page court complaint, “The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer,” alleges that Duterte masterminded the killings of suspected drug users and dealers.

The presidential palace dismissed the complaint as “black propaganda.”

In the Philippine Senate, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a Duterte supporter, said the case against the president is “dustbin bound” for lack of solid evidence.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she was “saddened” that some members of the Senate were included among those charged before in the international court. Two sitting senators were also charged with violating various provisions of the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the International Criminal Court. The court is responsible for trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

The Philippines ratified the statute in August 2011.

Religious leaders, including the Catholic bishops, have criticized the killings, although the bishops have stated they oppose Duterte’s policies, not Duterte as a person.

http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/04/28/philippine-bishop-who-standing-duterte?utm_content=bufferd6c84&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Philippines: President Duterte Under Fire From The New York Times

April 27, 2017

By Penny Starr

Beitbart

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016. Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The New York Times’ (NYT) editorial board published a commentary focused on a Philippine lawyer’s request to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to charge the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, with mass murder and crimes against humanity for his crackdown on drug traffickers.

“A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades,” the NYT editorial stated, under the headline “Let the World Condemn Duterte.”

“The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings,” the editorial stated.

Attorney Jude Josue Sabio filed the complaint under his name, but he is also representing two men who claim they were paid members of Duterte’s so-called death squad, according to the Times.

The complaint reports the deaths of 9,400 people, including political rivals and innocent civilian adults and children.

“Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was ‘closely following’ developments in the Philippines,” the editorial stated.

The Times notes that, despite these facts, Duterte remains popular and the conditions might not meet the requirements for the high court’s consideration.

“But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” the editorial stated.

“This is a man who must be stopped,” the editorial concluded.

The Philippine Star reported Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson called the Times editorial  “reckless, irresponsible and baseless.”

Ernesto Abella said that, while Duterte’s administration recognizes the newspaper’s right to state an opinion, the government has a “clear disagreement” with the editorial because it was based on Sabio’s complaint.

“Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who last year admitted that he was a member of a killing squad that was allegedly used by Duterte to eliminate drug suspects, criminals and political opponents when he was still the mayor of Davao City in southern Philippines,” the Star reported.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a longtime Duterte critic praised the Times editorial, saying that the evidence against him is “quite substantial.”

“[Duterte] recently offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Abu Sayyaf and other militants behind a foiled attack in the central province of Bohol,” the UK Independent reported: “Eight militants, three soldiers, a policeman and two villagers have died in clashes in Bohol, which lies far from the southern jungle bases of the militants.”

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/04/26/nyt-editorial-board-let-the-world-condemn-duterte/

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

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“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

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Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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NY Times editorial paints Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as ‘a man who must be stopped’

April 26, 2017
/ 04:47 PM April 26, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte-- April 4. 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

“This is a man who must be stopped.”

In yet another strongly worded piece on the spate of killings in the Philippines, the New York Times (NYT) editorial board on Wednesday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “stop” President Rodrigo Duterte and launch an initial investigation into summary executions amid his administration’s so-called war on drugs.

The editorial, titled “Let the World Condemn Duterte,” touched on the case of crime against humanity filed against Duterte and 11 other officials before the ICC by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, counsel of confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato.

READ: Duterte, 11 others accused of crimes against humanity before ICC

“The ICC should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings… After he was elected president last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively declaring an open season for police and vigilantes on drug dealers and users,” the NYT editorial board said.

“There is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” it added.

But the editorial acknowledged that the ICC may be “reluctant” to prosecute Duterte because of his “enormous” popularity among Filipinos. Duterte has maintained majority satisfaction and trust ratings in the first quarter of 2017, according to recent surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

READ: Duterte keeps ‘very good’ satisfaction rating — SWS | Duterte still most trusted exec—Pulse

It also noted that the ICC was created to “prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes among member countries only when their national courts are unwilling or unable to do so.”

“Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer,” the editorial read.

“And if the findings of Mr. Sabio, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and politicians, or the confessions of the former death squad members, are not enough evidence, there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters in one of his most outrageous statements (and misstating the figure for the Holocaust, which is six million). This is a man who must be stopped,” it added.

READ: What ‘filing’ a ‘complaint’ in ICC means

Duterte is facing an impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo party-list group over his bloody war on drugs and his alleged mishandling of the South China Sea dispute.

In October last year, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Court would be “following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened.”

“My Office is aware of worrying reported extra-judicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the Philippines…I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force,” Bensouda then said.

“Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court,” she added.

The latest NYT editorial follows the release of other pieces critical of Duterte in previous months, including a news feature titled “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman,” another editorial titled “Accountability for Duterte,” and a video documentary titled “When a President Says ‘I’ll Kill You.’” The publication also won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for its photo essay on the war on drugs “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals.”

Malacañang earlier accused the NYT of being part of a “well-funded demolition job” against President Duterte. IDL

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A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades. The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings.

The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, filed the complaint in his own name, but he also represents two men who have publicly said they were paid members of the death squad that Mr. Duterte set up in Davao City when he was the mayor to hunt down drug dealers. After he was elected president last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively declaring an open season for police and vigilantes on drug dealers and users. In all, Mr. Sabio said in the 77-page filing, more than 9,400 people have been killed, most of them poor young men, but also bystanders, children and political opponents.

Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was “closely following” developments in the Philippines.

There are reasons why the I.C.C. might be reluctant to go after Mr. Duterte. He is enormously popular with many Filipinos, for whom narcotics are a major scourge.

The court, moreover, was created to prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes among member countries only when their national courts are unwilling or unable to do so. Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer. But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods.

And if the findings of Mr. Sabio, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and politicians, or the confessions of the former death squad members, are not enough evidence, there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters in one of his most outrageous statements (and misstating the figure for the Holocaust, which is six million).

This is a man who must be stopped.

Mass Murder in the Philippines Reaches The International Criminal Court — Duterte’s anti-crime campaign is about murder of mostly poor young men, lawyer says

April 25, 2017
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Lawyer Jude Sabio holds a 77-page complaint outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – The lawyer of a self-confessed hit man of the so-called Davao death squad (DDS) yesterday filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against President Duterte and 11 other officials for alleged crimes against humanity in the course of a nationwide crackdown on drugs.

Jude Josue Sabio, the lawyer of ex-DDS hit man Edgar Matobato, filed the 77-page complaint titled “The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer” before the office of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

In a Senate inquiry last year, Matobato accused Duterte of masterminding the killings of over a thousand criminal suspects and opponents when the latter was mayor of Davao City.

Aside from Duterte, other officials included in the communication for violating different provisions of the Rome Statute are Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II; Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; former interior secretary Ismael Sueno; Supt. Edilberto Leonardo; Senior Police Officer 4 Sanson Buenaventura; Supt. Royina Garma; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran; Solicitor General Jose Calida and Senators Richard Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court responsible for trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, which are the Statute’s four core international crimes.

The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, together with 123 other state parties, after ratifying it in August 2011.

The ICC steps in only when the state is unable or unwilling to stop the perpetration of the crimes.

Sabio said he filed the complaint to hold Duterte accountable “in the name of international criminal justice, and to once and for all end this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines,” as key government institutions had failed to act on the cases of extrajudicial killings.

“All in all, the ‘repeated, unchanging and continuous’ mass murder being conducted by Duterte has already resulted in the deaths of not less than 1,400 individuals in Davao City under his Davao death squad and not less than 7,000 individuals in his war on drugs (on) the national level,” the complaint read.

“His strategy, system or policy of crime control then in Davao City was to ‘erase’, eliminate or kill suspected criminals such as snatchers, robbers, and drug pushers/addicts through his now infamous Davao death squad. Even while Duterte is already President of the Philippines, his system or strategy of erasing, eliminating and killing persons suspected of crimes is still, in fact, being undertaken in Davao City up to the present,” it stated.

Sabio asked the ICC prosecutor to conduct a preliminary examination and a formal investigation leading to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Duterte and the 11 other officials for their detention pending their trial “in order to prevent them from continuing with the commission of mass murder and to prevent them from killing potential victims and witnesses.”

The complaint cited 10 similarities in the extrajudicial killings done in Davao City by the DDS and the summary executions happening now, including “the element of police participation and command”; the presence of a hit man or an unknown armed assailant; the inclusion of a cash reward system for every killing and the existence of a “kill watchlist.”

“Sixth, there is collaboration between barangay and police officials; seventh, there is the cardboard sign and the face/body wrapped in packing tape; eighth, there is the use of ‘riding in tandem’ motorcycle-riding assailants; ninth, there is the use of hooded or masked assailants and tenth, there is the planting of a gun and drugs,” it said.

The complaint also cited Duterte’s “‘I will kill you’ mental state,” as well as his claimed “best practices” in fighting crime through summary executions.

To bolster the allegations, the complaint also relied on the testimonies of retired police officer and self-confessed DDS member Arthur Lascañas, who also testified last March before the Senate, confirming Matobato’s claims.

Senators, however, found Lascañas as having no credibility after he testified last year and denied the existence of the DDS when Matobato accused Duterte of spearheading extrajudicial killings.

Lascañas left the country earlier this month for Singapore with his family, saying he feared for his life.

The complaint also cited the petition filed by a certain Ernesto Avasola, who petitioned the courts in 2009 to exhume alleged remains of victims of the DDS in Davao City.

‘Wild’

The complaint also lamented that the Senate had failed to act as a check against the extrajudicial killings despite having conducted at least two inquiries into the summary executions connected to Duterte’s war on drugs.

Sabio contended that the Senate is not expected to seek Duterte’s accountability, as it is dominated by his allies even as he recounted in detail the political shifts in the chamber, including the events leading to the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima on drug charges, the stand of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV against extrajudicial killings and the ouster of members of the Liberal Party from the majority bloc.

“In turn, this unwillingness or inability of the Senate can be interpreted to mean as a direct intention to obstruct justice with the aim of shielding Duterte from being exposed to criminal liability,” Sabio stated.

Except for Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who described the complaint as “wild,” other senators declined to issue statements or could not be reached for comment.

“Crimes against humanity? Drug pushers fighting back against police operations are now called humanity?” Sotto said in a text message.

Bensouda said that last year, her office was following developments in the Philippines “with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination needs to be opened.”

“I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage state forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force,” she said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/25/1693669/matobato-lawyer-files-case-vs-rody-icc

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — A Filipino lawyer asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people over three decades.

The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, said in a 77-page complaint that Mr. Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed more than 9,400 people, mostly poor young men, since 1988, when Mr. Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines.

“The situation in the Philippines reveals a terrifying, gruesome and disastrous continuing commission of extrajudicial executions or mass murder from the time President Duterte was the mayor of Davao City,” the complaint says.

Mr. Sabio represents two men who say they were paid assassins for Mr. Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City, but filed the case on his own. The court has the authority to accept cases brought by individuals as well as by nations and the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Duterte was elected president last year after pledging to kill criminals as part of what he called a war on drugs. Since taking office last June, he has repeatedly urged the police to kill suspects and has promised to protect or pardon police officers who are prosecuted.

According to police statistics, more than 4,000 people have been killed by the police in antidrug operations or by vigilantes in drug-related cases since Mr. Duterte became president. Mr. Sabio’s complaint puts that number at more than 8,000.

In addition, the complaint cites the killings of more than 1,400 people who Mr. Sabio and rights advocates say were killed over 28 years in Mr. Duterte’s anti-crime campaign in Davao City.

The complaint also names Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre; the national police chief, Ronald dela Rosa; House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; and two senators, Peter Cayetano and Richard Gordon.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-icc-complaint.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Read the rest:

Lawyer for Philippine president calls ICC complaint ‘propaganda’

April 24, 2017

Reuters

The chief lawyer for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dismissed a complaint made against the leader and his top officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as “propaganda”, and doubted it had jurisdiction over the issue.

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FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines early January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan/File Photo

MANILA:The chief lawyer for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dismissed a complaint made against the leader and his top officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as “propaganda”, and doubted it had jurisdiction over the issue.

In a telephone interview with news channel ANC, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the 77-page complaint filed by a Philippine lawyer Jude Sabio accusing Duterte of crimes against humanity was an attempted slur by the president’s opponents.

Panelo said there was no evidence to support allegations that state-sponsored extrajudicial killings had taken place under Duterte’s presidency, or when he was mayor of southern Davao City. The allegations centre on Duterte’s bloody nationwide war on drugs and his anti-crime campaigns in Davao.

(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: Reuters
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/lawyer-for-philippine-president-calls-icc-complaint–propaganda–8788062