Int’l court can look into drug killings — CHR

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INTERNATIONAL bodies can exercise motu proprio jurisdiction in looking into alleged extrajudicial killings in the country if the government fails to put a stop to the summary executions.

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Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Jose Luis Martin Gascon, during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in a spate of drug-related killings in the country, said the International Criminal Court (ICC) could assume jurisdiction even without a complaint about the supposed incidents of extrajudicial killings.

“If they [ICC] receive information on a regular basis, they would normally conduct consultations, they will actually also provide advisory support for us to address these concerns and if these concerns are not adequately addressed, then it is possible that the [Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC] will make a recommendation for assumption of jurisdiction,” Gascon said in response to queries of Sen. Leila de Lima regarding the possibility of international bodies taking action on the situation.

De Lima, chairman of the committee, then asked Gascon what could lead the ICC into exercising its jurisdiction over the issue, the CHR head said the issue of crimes against humanity could be used as a ground.

He explained that the Philippines recently passed Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity, essentially a law that criminalizes whatever is under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Since the Philippine is a member of the ICC, it could also look at how the country is implementing the law.

“If we fail to implement this law and enforce our own laws as we should, then it also becomes another condition for the ICC to possibly exercise jurisdiction,” Gascon further explained.

De Lima, meanwhile, warned Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa to refrain from issuing threats to
kill those who will resist arrest, noting that such statements could be used as evidence against him since they may be construed as encouragement to kill people.

“That’s not exactly what you mean but what if that is the message you’re sending to them [police]?” she said.
“Thank you. I will try to lessen such statements,” the PNP chief said.

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