MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano have filed a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Netherlands.
In their 45-page pleading, which is an additional complaint to the one earlier filed against Duterte by lawyer Jude Sabio, the lawmakers told ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that they were affirming the veracity of the information submitted by Sabio and providing additional information “to prove the widespread and systematic extra-judicial killings in our beloved country.”
“We further stress the need to conduct a preliminary examination on the allegations contained herein to provide a glimmer of hope for the thousands of victims that Duterte’s impunity would soon end,” they added.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said the supplemental complaint was “belated” and “a remedial effort.”
“(It) only goes to show that their initial complaint was based merely on hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations,” Panelo said.
“Unfortunately for the misguided lawmakers, they cannot hope to cure a complaint which is intrinsically flawed and, worse, was filed before a tribunal that does not even have jurisdiction in the first place.”
“It should be remembered that the ICC is a court of last resort and filing a case before it can only be resorted to after all domestic legal remedies are fully exhausted.”
But Trillanes told reporters on the same day that “the case of crimes against humanity against Duterte is very solid.”
“He repeatedly, explicitly and clearly pronounced a national policy of killing drug suspects and the PNP (Philippine National Police) executed it,” he said.
According to the senator, “the Philippines, being a state party and Duterte being a Filipino, satisfy jurisdictional requirements.”
“Any Filipino lawyer who says otherwise, should read the ICC policy papers first,” added Trillanes.
The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court mandated to hear cases against perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, which are the Statute’s four core international crimes.
The Philippines is among the 124 state parties that ratified the Rome Statute.
In April this year, Sabio submitted a 77-page complaint to the ICC, seeking an investigation of the mass murder or extra-judicial executions linked to the administration’s war on illegal drugs, which he claimed constituted “crimes against humanity.”
List of killings included in supplemental complaint
Trillanes and Alejano’s supplemental communication focused on the alleged “widespread systematic mass murder being carried out in the country” and the “continuing veil of impunity, especially President Duterte’s immunity from suit, which enables the carrying out of state-tolerated and state-sponsored killings.”
Trillanes and Alejano also included in the communication the list of killings that transpired after the first communication to the ICC was submitted on April 24 by Sabio, and other relevant incidents, which allegedly prove that the killings happening around the country are being done systematically by police through the so-called legitimate police operations, or through vigilante style executions, which are carried out by police themselves masked as part of vigilante groups or through their hired killers.
Alejano claimed that the Duterte administration had continued to manifest that it was “unwilling and unable” to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of crimes.
He said this was shown in the “abruptly terminated” Senate hearings on the killings and the dismissal of the impeachment complaint that he filed against the President in connection with the killings.