By Ben Rosario
The decision of the International Criminal Court to conduct a preliminary examination into the anti-drug campaign that President Rodrigo Duterte pursued for over a year has placed him on the list of world leaders accused of committing crimes against humanity.
Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman named the late Libyan leader Moammar and Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo among those indicted before the ICC for various crimes.
“The ICC is an international tribunal that investigates and tries persons charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community, which include crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and the crime of aggression,” explained Lagman.
Duterte and other government officials are the subject of complaints filed before the ICC by Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio, and Magdalo Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano.
Sabio accused Duterte of involvement in murders that “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” occur in the Philippines, including those committed by the alleged Davao Death Squad during his term as mayor and during his on-going anti-drug campaign as president.
Lagman said the ICC is part of the global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, it aims to hold accountable those responsible for their crimes and to help prevent these widespread, systematic crimes from happening again.
“Crimes against humanity refer to specific crimes committed in the context of a large-scale attack targeting civilians. These crimes include murder, torture, sexual violence, enslavement, persecution, enforced disappearance, and allied offenses,” he explained.
The following, among many others, were investigated, indicted and/or found guilty by the ICC:
1. Muammar Gaddafi, “Leader of the Revolution” (de facto head of state) and Commander of the Armed Forces of Libya, who was indicted on June 27, 2011 on two (2) counts of crimes against humanity. He “planned, in conjunction with his inner circle of advisers, a policy of violent oppression of popular uprisings in the early weeks of the Libyan civil war.” Gaddafi was killed in the Libyan City of Sirte on October 20, 2011 and the ICC terminated proceedings against him on November 22, 2011.
2. Laurent Gbagbo, President of Cote d’ Ivoire, who was indicted on November 23, 2011 on four (4) counts of crimes against humanity for having “allegedly organized, along with members of his inner circle, systematic attacks against civilians during post-election violence that began on November 28, 2010”. His trial started on January 28, 2016.
3. Simone Gbagbo, wife of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. She was indicted on February 29, 2012 on four (4) counts of crimes against humanity for having allegedly “co-organized, as a member of her husband’s inner circle of advisers, a policy targeting civilians during post-election violence”. On March 10, 2015, the ICC sentenced her to 20 years imprisonment.
4. Dominic Ongwen, allegedly a military commander and a member of the leadership of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed group which has been waging a guerilla campaign since 1987 against the Ugandan government. He was indicted on July 8, 2005 on three (3) counts of crimes against humanity, which were expanded to 34 counts on December 22, 2015. His trial started on December 6, 2016.
5. Germain Katanga, alleged leader of the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI). He was indicted on July 2, 2007 on three (3) counts of crimes against humanity. On May 23, 2014, Katanga was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
“While some of the cases had been dismissed and some convictions are pending appeal, the fact remains that the ICC is determined to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have committed crimes against humanity, including summary executions against civilians leveled against Duterte,” said Lagman.
The opposition solon added: “The state policy of eradicating the drug menace neither justifies nor condones the extermination of civilian suspects without due process.