ICJ Media Review: Duterte considers himself beyond ICC jurisdiction

Like Rodrigo Duterte - President of the Philippines
Friday, February 16, 2018 - 06:13

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about a trial brief for the Prosecution in Gbagbo, the Trust Fund for victims in the Habre case, Bensouda’s statement on child soldiers, inquiry into drug deaths in the Philippines and Duterte’s position on the ICC, Al-Wefalli’s release and the ICC Prosecution’s submission of more information regarding Afghanistan.

Trial Chamber in Gbagbo orders submission of trial brief from Prosecution

In the case of The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo & Charles Blé Goudé at the International Criminal Court, Trial Chamber I invited the Prosecutor to file a trial brief effectively clarifying her case and linking the evidence to the elements of the crimes charged. The order comes following a request by the Prosecutor for preliminary directions on the presentation of the Defence case, which the Gbagbo Defence responded to by arguing that an amended pre-trial brief was necessary in order to assess the Prosecutor’s case, particularly in light of the significant number of witnesses withdrawn since the beginning of trial. Citing its obligation to ensure the fairness and expeditiousness of the trial, the Trial Chamber requested that the Prosecutor’s brief be submitted within 30 days, and that it provide a detailed narrative of the case in light of the testimony and documentary evidence presented to date. (ICC TC Order)

Statute of the trust fund for the victims of Hissene Habre adopted by African Union

On 13 February, the African Union established a trust fund to secure compensation for the victims of Hissène Habré, the former President of Chad, who was convicted in 2016 by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) based in Senegal of crimes against humanity.  The Trust Fund was ordered by the EAC as part of the proceedings, and has been mandated to search for and recover Habré’s assets and to seek voluntary contributions from countries and other willing parties.  The trust fund’s establishment is expected to help facilitate the process of tracing Habré’s assets in order to enable the victims’ repayment, and will take voluntary contributions from any country, individual or body that wishes to make them.  Following the EACH judgment against Habre, the decision was upheld by the EAC Appeals Chamber (AC) on 27 April 2017. The Appeals Chamber awarded approximately USD 154 million to 7,396 named victims. An additional 3,489 victims who had not produced sufficient proof of their identity before the EAC are also able to apply to the Trust Fund to determine their eligibility.  More than 40,000 people are reported to have been killed and more than 54,000 imprisoned during Habré’s rule between 1982 and 1990, and, before fleeing Chad, Habré stole the entire contents of the country’s treasury, approximately $150 million. Although Habré was ordered to repay his victims following his conviction, to date, Habré’s victims have not received any compensation. (The Guardian, Human Rights Watch)

ICC Prosecutor Statement against the use of child soldiers

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has released a statement to mark International Day against the use of Child Soldiers, on 12 February 2018. The Prosecutor drew attention to the right for children to live free from violence. The statement called on domestic and international courts to protect children from being used in conflicts and highlighted the successful prosecution of Thomas Lubango Dyilo as an example of the ICC’s role in holding people accountable for committing atrocities against children. (ICC)

Commission on Human Rights calls on Philippine government to investigate drug deaths

On 12 February, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called upon the Philippine government to cooperate with the ICC in its investigations into deaths arising from President Duterte’s war on drugs. The CHR commissioner, Roberto Cadiz, said that the ICC would be examining whether the actions arising from Duterte’s war on drugs would fall under the jurisdiction of the court. He highlighted the issue of complementarity which may arise in the situation in the Philippines, specifically the ICC’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute in situations where the national courts are not genuinely investigating the alleged crimes themselves. (ABS-CBN)

Duterte considers himself beyond ICC jurisdiction

In a speech on 9 February, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte announced that he considered himself beyond the jurisdiction of the ICC. The ICC is currently conducting a preliminary investigation into thousands of deaths arising from his government’s war on drugs. Duterte issued a warning to the ICC prosecutor about proceeding with prosecutions against the Philippine government and renewed threats to withdraw from membership of the ICC. The Philippines has been a State Party to the ICC since the Rome Statute was ratified by Duterte’s predecessor in 2011. (Manila TimesThe Borneo Post)

ICC suspect Al-Werfalli freed after surrendering in Libya; won’t be surrendered to ICC

Libyan military police released Libyan National Army commander Mahmoud Al-Werfalli on bail on 8 February 2018. Amidst calls from the ICC for his arrest and surrender, Al-Werfalli had surrendered himself to military police on 7 February 2018. There was a demonstration in Benghazi protesting legal action against Al-Werfalli. The ICC’s arrest warrant accuses Al-Werfalli of involvement in the murder of 33 people in Benghazi in 2016-2017. (The Libya ObserverEyewitness News)

Prosecution provides Pre-Trial Chamber with requested additional information on Afghanistan Situation

In response to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber III’s request of 5 February 2018, the Prosecutor provided further material for the consideration of the Chamber in a response filed 9 February 2018. The material comprised: publicly available reports on the treatment of detainees, torture, and children and armed conflict in Afghanistan; UN Secretary-General reports on the situation in Afghanistan; information about the Islamic State operating in Afghanistan; and the structure, conduct and interrogation policies of United States forces at relevant times. Although not expressly ordered to do so, the Prosecutor also provided information regarding the structure, organisation and conduct of the Afghan forces at relevant times. The proceeding relates to the Prosecutor’s request pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute for authorisation to initiate an investigation into crimes committed on Afghan territory from 1 May 2003 onwards, as well as crimes committed within the context of the situation in other States Parties from 1 July 2002 onwards. (ICC PTC OrderICC OTP Response)

Photo: PCOO EDP/Wiki Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/

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