Imee: ICC, stay out of the Philippine justice system; VFA not your problem

Published June 23, 2021, 3:11 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Imee R. Marcos on Wednesday said Filipinos would be naïve to believe that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is beyond reproach, citing the way the court accepts funding and selects its judges.

“If the ICC decides to investigate President Duterte, it will not be free of foreign meddling. The court is largely European-funded at a time it is short on funding, and has so far decided mostly on cases involving Africans. Less economically and politically powerful nations are at a disadvantage,” Marcos said.

Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate economic affairs committee, cited the Washington-based think-tank American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) which identified the ICC’s major funders as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Japan, Mexico, and Australia.

Pressure by the United States could also be applied on countries that it continues to defend militarily, despite its not being a state party to the Rome Statue that established the ICC, the AEI said.

“It is interesting to note that before she retired last week, former Chief Prosecutor (Fatou) Bensouda pushed to investigate President Duterte at the heels of his announcement that the suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) would be extended,” Marcos said.

“Human rights issues will be deployed in pursuit of military goals,” Marcos added, citing another Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which recommended that the Biden administration negotiate for greater military presence in the Philippines through an addendum to the VFA and greater pressure on human rights issues.

Vote-trading and political favors among state parties have been “an open secret” in the selection of ICC judges, Marcos also said.

Marcos cited that when Japan ratified the Rome Statute in 2007 and became the ICC’s biggest funder, it was awarded with the selection of one of its nationals, Fumiko Saiga, as a judge despite her not having any legal experience.

“Even her replacement after she died was a Japanese diplomat with no experience as a lawyer nor a judge,” Marcos said, citing Kuniko Ozaki’s mention in the book “Justice Denied: The Reality of the International Criminal Court.”

Marcos called on the Filipino legal community to resist any move by the ICC to take over cases of alleged human rights abuses in the Duterte government’s war on drugs.

“Foreign meddling in the Duterte case is not far-fetched. It would be an insult to every Filipino lawyer, judge and court if the ICC presumes to stand in their place, even before cases linked to the drug war undergo due process in our very own judicial system,” she added.

 
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