Duterte welcomes ICC, says willing to sit down

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to sit down with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda .-Newsline.ph file photo

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, February 9, welcomed International Criminal Court  (ICC)  Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, saying he is willing to sit down with her.

Bensouda is here in the country to conduct  “preliminary examination” into the alleged extrajudicial killings in relation to the “war on drugs” since July 1, 2016.

The preliminary investigation is the first step to determine whether it could prosecute Duterte  for his  alleged involvement in the killings done in the country’s war against drugs.

“I welcome you. And if you find me guilty, go ahead. So be it,” he said at a press conference at Matina Enclaves in Davao City.

But Duterte questioned where in the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines or in the world does the crime Extra Judicial Killing exists,
“What is extrajudicial killing? If you accuse me of what is extrajudicial killing, there is no f_cking provision of extrajudicial killing. It is not found anywhere.”.

Duterte, noted that one of the fundamental requirements in a democracy is that you must know the law that you are violating. He said these laws must be published in the Official Gazette.

The law which the ICC is referring to was not published “Was there any publication? None. What is in the Revised Penal Code? Is there extrajudicial killing? Then our  principles of territoriality is that the crime must only be prosecuted in the place or the country where the crime was committed.”

He noted that the United States did not sign the Rome Statute because President George Bush the son would have gone to prison for invading Iraq, raising the excuse of weapons of mass  destruction “only to find out or to say later on, there was none.”

Duterte said “Criminal law says you cannot escape liability by just pretending to be ignorant so in order not to be ignorant, we have to publish our penal laws, especially with punitive sanctions.”

He however noted, the law which the ICC is referring to was not published “Was there any publication? None. What is in the Revised Penal Code? Is there extrajudicial killing? Then our
principles of territoriality is that the crime must only be prosecuted in the place or the country where the crime was committed.”

He said he can’t understand why he is being singled out when there are so many massacres happening ..”in all parts of Asia.”

Duterte  clarified, he is willing to sit down with  Bensouda “I do not want to appear na I’m trying to avoid liability. Basta sinabi ko lang na, eh kung ganun ang style nila,  karami ngayong mass rape. Bakit ako?. Ang namamatay dito kriminal. Ang mabuti sana kung walang namatay sa pulis ko pati sundalo ko” (I just said that if that is their style, there are so  many mass rape. Why me? Criminals are the ones killed here. But my policemen and soldiers were killed, too).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the preliminary investigation “This is an opportunity for him to probe that this is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction because of both
complementarity that domestic courts and the fact that we have a domestic international humanitarian law statute in our jurisdiction, are reasons enough for the Court not to exercise
jurisdiction.”

Roque said they welcomed the move  because the  President “is sick and tired of being accused.”

Bensouda said the preliminary examination will analyze crimes allegedly committed since July 1, 2016, Day One of the Duterte administration, “in the context of the ‘war on drugs’
campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines.”

It can be recalled that opposition Senators through lawyer Jude Sabio used the affidavits of retired policeman Arturo Lascañas and “self-confessed” gun-for-hire Edgar Matobato to build a  case against Duterte before the ICC.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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