International Peoples’ Tribunal has found Duterte guilty and ICC may come next in 2020

The International Peoples’ Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium, handed down a guilty verdict on President Rodrigo Duterte last year for crimes against humanity over the alleged “gross and systematic violations of human rights” in the Philippines. Though a competent Filipino legal jurist explained that this is not legally binding. However, this would have a strong moral persuasion and political boon that would complement the overall efforts of prosecuting the madman in Malacañang.

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In fact, a copy of the tribunal’s findings has already been forwarded to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda who is currently conducting a preliminary examination into the numerous killings in the war on drugs here. It is a stage where she will try to establish jurisdiction over the alleged crimes. “If findings from a People’s Tribunal on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines are sent to the ICC Prosecutor, it will contribute to the ICC Prosecutor’s analysis of information on the preliminary examination it is conducting,”

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As of the time of writing. The preliminary examination of the crimes against humanity complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte is currently on-going and will be finished come 2020 as new intriguing evidences and supplementary information came trickling in against Duterte. According to the ICC’s report, they have found a sufficient basis to proceed with the assessment.

“Open source information indicates that a limited number of investigations and prosecutions have been initiated (and, in some cases, completed) at the national level in respect of direct perpetrators of certain criminal conduct that allegedly took place in the context of, or connection to, the War on Drugs campaign,” ICC noted.

Duterte, who in the past been quick to downplay the brewing ICC complaint against him, then suddenly turned around and desperately and unconstitutionally forced the Philippine government out from the ICC membership to evade further investigations and to try and pre-empt ICC’s conviction citing that they no longer have jurisdiction because the Philippines is no longer part of the ICC. Such a coward man he is?

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Unfortunately for him, In accordance with article 127, the withdrawal took effect on 17 March 2019. The Court retains jurisdiction over alleged crimes that have occurred on the territory of the Philippines during the period when it was a State Party to the Statute, namely from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019,” “Furthermore, the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction (i.e. the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed up to and including 16 March 2019) is not subject to any time limit,” as noted by the ICC.

So even if Duterte hurriedly pushed the withdrawal of the Philippines from the ICC without Congressional nod to evade prosecution. The ICC will still technically able to prosecute him based on the fact that the complaint has been filed within the period where the Philippines were still a state party of the Rome Statue. As such, this act will not save Duterte and he will soon face justice.

Is International Peoples’ Tribunal dilawan? Nope, a member of the tribunal has even filed a human-rights complaint against the Aquino admin

In a 2015 people’s tribunal that found former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino also guilty of human rights violations, the lead prosecutor was notable lawyer Ramsey Clark, who was attorney general in the Lyndon Johnson administration and of course a member of the International People’s Tribunal. Which meant that the allegations of labeling any critics of Duterte’s human-rights atrocities as influenced by the liberals were completely unfounded.

Putting that information into context. We can always support all the positive policies of the Duterte regime whilst criticizing all of the damaging ones that puts our rights and best interests in serious jeopardy. There’s no need to crucify ourselves or deny justice from our affected countrymen, simply because we’re doing well off in our posh secured subdivision houses or condominium units. We tend to be morally dismissive on the cries and the sorry plight of our countrymen.

Justice for one is justice for all. We can’t use the universal access to human-rights in a moral-high-ground debate. Because humans are humans irrespective of our individual views, all of us deserves the rights which universe vested upon us by birth-right.

Duterte will soon face punishment and consequently the bereaved families of EJK’s may soon find comfort that finally the souls of their love-ones shall find peace. Most of all, Duterte’s actions will strenghted our understanding of human-rights and I hope more serious efforts will be poured into the protection of such rights and not just some mere election pep-talk.

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