President Rodrigo Duterte, photo from Philstar
Paula Defensor-Knack, expert of Public International Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law, Oceans Law and Policy, Peace and Security explained that our country should not worry about International Criminal Court (ICC).

Knack is the sister of the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago who was a senator and also an expert of the same field.

Read her full statement below:


I am wondering whats the big fuss about Matobato’s lawyer filing a complaint before the ICC. Thousands of letter complaints are filed and we never heard of them again. The tribunal cant hear all and has no money. On the contrary, it has taken a loan. It has also gone through several waves of retrenchment.

First, Are they are sure the Prosecutor will file charges based on the obvious money-fueled testimony of an assassin for hire? 

Why don’t we write ICC Prosecutor Bensouda and the ICC judges instead not to intervene in Philippine affairs because THEY ARE SIDING WITH THE waning OPPOSITION WHICH WANTS TO OVERTHROW A LEGAL HEAD OF STATE in violation of the Constitution.

The history of the tribunal is one of injustice to African states. How many white heads of states have been convicted anyway ? ZERO. It is now faced with threats of withdrawal by South Africa and several others. We have seen the chaotic jurisprudence of this tribunal and the accusations of witness coaching by intermediaries, the focus on destroyed stones and monuments while neglecting the persecution of an ethnic group , and the WTH neglect of s*xual violence !

Second, the ICC has no jurisdiction due to complementarity and the difficulty posed by immunities of heads of states in customary international law which is often in the Constitutions of states. Is it legal for a tribunal to intervene in a country where there are pending charges against both accuser and accused for the same subject?

Al Bashir, the President of Sudan, who has a longstanding warrant of arrest is freely travelling to African countries in broad daylight and no one is even taking him in custody ! Duterte pa ? He is loved in the streets, all the way to the mountains. He has a popularity of 70-80%. He is my friend, he is our president and we must defend him because instability in the country hurts everyone who has a brain. Some people want economic growth but are doing everything to destroy the country. How ludicrous and shortsighted.

I thank Duterte for disciplining taxi drivers at the international airport out of fear that he might order their arrests for holding up innocent tourists or duping them out of their precious travel money and for the first time, the toilets in the international airport now have running water and paper towel. The only airport that used to look it was devastated by war – no water in the closet, no paper, but there is water flowing on the floor. Go figure.

Third, a situation is not a case in International Criminal Law and preliminary examination is not the same as preliminary investigation. A preliminary examination can be a table survey of which letter complaint among thousands shall be read first. And the Prosecutor must scale piles.

Fourth Who will gain from publicity of a case in the ICC ? Not the Philippines but individuals with vested interests for a short time until their plunder and corruption cases go to trial. This is one area that needs improvement in our criminal justice system. LETS GIVE THEM THEIR DAY IN COURT NOW. Otherwise, let heads roll ! EAch time a head of state is elected, immediately another group is plotting to grab power ! There is no end to power grabbing anymore in this country.

Fifth, it highlights a reality - the intervention of the ICC cannot bring peace between warring groups in a state if the tribunal sides with 1 group in a chaotic corrupt society, which has been the result of removing individuals from their jurisdictions and bringing them to face trial at the ICC. It did not bring peace to those countries. We can talk lengthily about the cases from Africa and rough justice or the shadows of complementarity. So why pick on the Philippines ? The intervention of a foreign tribunal will only prove a roadblock to peace and stability in the country and the ICC is already facing criticism for favoring 1 group over another in African states. There are cases of crimes against humanity against the most powerful countries of the world and complaints have been filed against heads of states engaged in a series of wars in some jurisdictions. 

Will we ignore that ?

Let Duterte finish his term in peace and then let him defend himself if a case for impeachment prospers. As to other officials, our courts are functioning. In all the opposition's press releases to foreign media, they never mention that the courts are functioning and willing to try any case filed before them. If a lower court issues an unfavorable decision, there are appellate courts with justices appointed by the previous administration. So why run to a foreign country ? I thought you dont want foreign intervention. But here you are, running to a foreign country and reporting there. How immature ! You are like cry babies looking for a nanny from people who dont know your country and dont know your culture.

Much is expected from this President. He has much work with the peace agreement with the Reds, another peace agreement in war-torn Mindanao, cries of justice among both victims and believers of Martial Law, the disillusionment with EDSA and the corruption it brought, and the many pending cases on plunder. The peace agreements alone are being watched by foreign governments because terrorism is in our shores. Doesn't that bother the opposition ? You want terrorists to triumph in our country ?

Only a Filipino can bring peace to the Philippines. Not a tribunal perceived to favor rich countries. And if ever they choose the Philippines we are just here at The Hague and we will defend the President. He IS the lawful head of state and he is not even 1 year in office. If Duterte cant come up with a peace agreement, no one else will. After all, he is from Mindanao and he is our only hope for a PEACE AGREEMENT in a conflict that has spun centuries.

Sen. Miriam said we have no sense of shared destiny. Let that ring loud and clear to both government officials and citizens. WE MUST HAVE A BRAIN when it comes to saying whats best for the country. Anyone who speaks must know whether they speak for the majority or not. If the people have spoken, the opposition's turn comes in the next elections. If you are discontented, the courts are there and functioning and dont tell me the opposition didnt use them as it suited them when they were in power. So instead of spreading fear and an atmosphere of instability, gather your evidence and go to local courts. Many of those judges were appointed by previous administrations. Those who spread fear cannot convice the majority with facts. It is a comic representation of Armageddon because no one has seen it.

Source: Paula Defensor-Knack

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International criminal law expert explains why PH should not worry about ICC International criminal law expert explains why PH should not worry about ICC Reviewed by Kristian S. on 17 June Rating: 5

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