Off limits to interloper

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is dead set on ramming through an investigation on the war on drugs and former president Rodrigo Duterte as part of a campaign to resurrect the tattered image of the war crimes tribunal.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra expected the ICC main chamber to dismiss Khan’s musings if the submissions of the government get the full appreciation.

Guevarra said there is no determination yet from ICC about the probe despite Khan’s recommendations.

“All questionable incidents where deaths of drug suspects occurred have been investigated or are currently being investigated,” Guevarra indicated.

He added, “The process takes time to yield results.”

This was the same take of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla who took exception to Khan’s points, saying that the country’s judiciary is fully functioning but at “its own pace.”

The country’s courts have been criticized for taking too long to prosecute cases due to a lack of personnel.

Khan has cited three arguments for pursuing the probe into the war on drugs and former president Duterte, which are that a factual challenge to the existence of a contextual element of a crime against humanity cannot divest the tribunal of jurisdiction; that the government misstated the requirements for establishing a state policy; and that the no concrete evidence or information was submitted, contradicting or undermining the ICC’s previous conclusions that the alleged crimes were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population and in furtherance of a state policy.

What stood out in Khan’s plea, however, is that he had relied heavily on the speeches of Mr. Duterte in concluding that the so-called extrajudicial killings are state-sponsored.

Khan contends that the diatribes of Mr. Duterte against the drug syndicates constituted state policy.

“A state policy need not be conceived at the highest levels of the State, but can be established by evidence that regional or even local state actors actively promoted or encouraged an attack on a civilian population.”

He argued that the Chamber had addressed “in detail several considerations which establish the existence of a state policy and its connection to the alleged crimes. This included the statements of former president Duterte and other government officials; a clear link between the killings and the government’s formal anti-drug campaign, including the increase and decrease of killings coinciding with changes in the official policy; the use of watch lists; the provision of rewards or promotions to alleged physical perpetrators; and the failure of national authorities to take meaningful steps to investigate or prosecute the killings.”

Even non-lawyers knew that the statements of Mr. Duterte during his addresses were meant to drive home his determination to end the drugs menace, instead of encouraging the commission of a crime.

Also, Khan seems to already have his mind fixed on making Mr. Duterte subject to a trial amid the former leader’s consistent view, as a lawyer, that he can only be under the jurisdiction of a local court.

Khan badly wanted the case against Mr. Duterte to be a defining moment in his career, similar to his predecessor Fatou Bensouda, who was widely criticized for picking on small nations while turning a blind eye to the large-scale abuses of the superpowers.

Khan and the ICC have no business in the Philippines, which is a sovereign country with a functioning government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *