THERE is a possibility that the current extrajudicial killings in the country will be considered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as amounting to a crime against humanity, according to Commission on Human Rights chairperson Jose Luis "Chito" Gascon.
In his testimony before the Senate, Gaston explained that the Philippines was one of the signatories in the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court.
Under the treaty, every Filipino including the President, can be tried by this Court, which has jurisdiction over war crimes, genocides, aggression and crimes against humanity.
“If there is widespread or systematic attack against civilian population, then it can be established that there is a crime against humanity, the ICC will have complete jurisdiction on this case,” Gaston explained during the hearing.
Although President Rodrigo Duterte is enjoying immunity under the Philippine Constitution, there is no expiration of liability under the ICC and he can be charged even long before he leaves Malacañang.
Senator Leila de Lima said the ICC could send a prosecutor to the Philippines and investigate all these killings under the Rome Statute.
“And we can be subjected to an investigation under the international tribunal like the ICC. We will be facing the consequences. President Duterte, once the case have been filed at the International Criminal Court, will not be protected by the immunity provided by his presidency,” De Lima said.
Among those leaders charged in the ICC include the Presidents of Sudan and Kenya, which were charged in the court even during their incumbency.
De Lima said that although he wants Duterte to succeed in his fight against illegal drugs, he should be reminded that the international community is watching the country.
The ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court under the umbrella of the United Nation, participating in the global fight against impunity. (Sunnex)