Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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International Criminal Court

Duterte can avoid ICC probe if he allows authorities to investigate EJKs – ex-CJ Panganiban

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Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said President Rodrigo Duterte could avoid scrutiny by the International Criminal Court (ICC) by punishing those involved in the killing of thousands of drug suspects under his brutal war on drugs.

“If our government can show it is willing and able “genuinely” to investigate or prosecute, the ICC will not have jurisdiction over the ‘situation in the Philippines’,” said Panganiban in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column.

Under the Rome Statute, the ICC would not proceed to investigate a case if it was “being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution.

Panganiban said it was “inaccurate” to say that self-confessed killer Edgar Matobato’s testimony against Duterte kicked off Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s move to initiate a “preliminary examination.”

He said the ICC Chief Prosecutor did not cite Mataobato’s expose on Duterte’s alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad and did not mention Duterte as the subject of the preliminary examination.

“Bensouda ’emphasize[d] that a preliminary examination is … but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis’ to conduct later what is roughly the equivalent of a preliminary investigation in the Philippines,” Panganiban said.

. Panganiban said that before Bensouda moves to a “preliminary investigation”, she must first get a go-signal from the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber which could take years.

Although some people abhor his views, Panganiban said Roque has the expertise and gravitas to discuss ICC matters being the only Filipino allowed to practice as a defense counsel in the ICC. He said Roque’s mentor, former UP College of Law Dean Raul C. Pangalangan, i the only Filipino sitting as ICC judge.

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