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My Letter to President Duterte: Do you got something to hide?

Oslo, 17th March 2019

Dear Sir, His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the President of the Republic of Philippines.

I am writing today to you and yours for a very simple reason. Not that I have the answers, but I am seeking those. Because I am worried about you and your administration. Since, the act of withdrawal from the Rome Statute and leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) came to affect today.

A quick brief about the ICC and the Rome Statute: “The primary mission of the International Criminal Court is to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes” (…) “On 17 July 1998, a conference of 160 States established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court. The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Among other things, it sets out the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC, the rules of procedure and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC” (…) “ The mandate of the Court is to try individuals (rather than States), and to hold such persons accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, when the conditions for the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction over the latter are fulfilled” (ICC – Understanding the International Criminal Court).

The reason for writing this is very clear as an outsider, a man who follows the Republic and sometimes worried about the state of affairs. I’m writing to you President Duterte, because this is a serious gamble. Your risking more than just some mere donations or bilateral loans, you are risking more than that.

Mister President, your actually taking yourself out of institution, whose prosecuting for international crimes and crimes against humanity. Which is a very specific court, not just any tribunal. Why I am asking, because your administration accepted the verdict of another international court, which ordered a verdict in your favour. That was the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on the 12th July 2016 [The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China)]. Therefore, the administration your running has accepted this and didn’t question the sovereign of this nor the laws it used for the ruling of this court.

If you as President are saying the ICC shouldn’t have any grounds of investigation you, than the same Republic and the same administration accept the verdict of another international court either. That is just an easy assessment, Mr. President.

As we are seeing the Republic leaves the ICC, could there be another reason for leaving it? Are you afraid of cases built up against you? Would you be afraid if they really investigated or looked into the anti-drug war? Are you afraid of what you did as Mayor of Davao?

I just got to ask. Since there has to be something, a reason why you are afraid of the ICC. If you had nothing to hide, if you had nothing to look into or questionable activity. You wouldn’t have revoked the Rome Statute and run away from the International Law?

I am really questioning it, since the same state had no issues accepting one International Court, but leaving another one. Are you leaving the laws and statutes of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague too? That would have been a bit fair, especially if your a supreme sovereign and not wanting any interference. This is a weird argument using against one, but accepting the other one.

I just had to ask. I don’t anticipate any answers, but the Filipino should get to know. Just not some PR Stunt and sample of the Withdrawal of the Rome Statute. There should be released an legal argument released to the public to read and with justified explanation. If not, we can wonder, if the you as a President is afraid of the ICC and what they could find.

I hope you could answer to that and also show grace. Not that I expect any, but as an outsider. This is just weird. No one is running away from something unless, they got something to hide. That is just ordinary fashion in these manners.

Best Regards

Writer of Minbane

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Opinion: ICJ supports the renewed notification from RSA gov. to stay within the ICC!

Certainly, there have been blowing a wind of dismay towards the International Criminal Court; the reasons are not subtle, but understandable by the men and woman fearing for their future. The ICC has for some reasons been finding lots of criminal activity and leaders misusing their powers to create crimes against humanity on the African continent. While the same ICC has not used their powers and laws on certain other questionable wars and legality behind the support of internal wars elsewhere. Therefore, the totalitarian and the lingering presidents that fear their respect and legacy, as they could be taken to court for their acts while being Presidents!

Well, here is a key piece of knowledge from the briefing written by the International Commission of Jurist (ICJ) that was dropped this March, in the same amount of days that the Republic of South Africa has released their Withdrawal of the Withdrawal from the ICC and the Rome Statute. Therefore, the ICC can be rest assured that the South African republic will not leave now.

ICJ Reasoning for problems with ICC:

While there are no doubt many serious situations that have so far escaped the Prosecutor’s purview, it is important to note that because the ICC functions within the jurisdictional limits of the Rome Statute, it cannot assume jurisdiction and commence investigations in respect of States that are not parties to the Rome Statute or nationals of such States. As noted above, in such situations, it is up to the Security Council, to decide whether to refer a situation to the Prosecutor, who will then decide whether to prosecute. The powers of the Security Council, including those concerning the use of the veto when referring situations to the ICC for investigation, also require reconsideration and reform. Efforts toward reconsideration and reform could be led by South Africa and other African States” (…) “The ICJ notes that most African States that are parties to the Rome Statute appear to remain committed to the Court. It is significant that the newly installed President of Gambia has decided to withdraw the notice of withdrawal that was issued by his predecessor” (ICJ, P: 8-9, 2017).

Recommendation of the ICJ:

“Honourable Parliamentarians should ensure that:

  1. The Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act Repeal Bill [B23-2016] should not be passed;
  2. South Africa should remain a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  3. South Africa should engage, where appropriate with other African States, in actively pursuing appropriate reforms within the Assembly of State Parties, with a view to making the ICC more effective in advancing the objectives of international justice.
  4. South Africa should actively encourage other African states to put in place legislation required to empower domestic courts with the ability to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  5. South Africa should continue to work constructively with civil society on the advancement of international criminal justice” (ICJ, P: 10, 2017).

Still it is good to see the ICJ support the Republic of South Africa will to stay within the Rome Statute and the ICC. Even as they did have questions towards the African leaders and States, as the ICC has not acted towards the United States or United Kingdom for their ill-will wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So the good news is that the Republic of South Africa still is a member of the ICC, but there is a will to leave there. That will not dwindle away, as the staunch controversy towards the ICC does not go away with a briefing like this or the ways the image of ICC is seen on the continent. That does not leave with the Gambian and South Africa now returning, or not leaving at all. This shows the problems that the leadership has with the court and their legal battles on the continent. That will not be diffused, even as this is good news for those who want to believe in International justice.

Still, there are enough issues that the ICC has to work-on and show less bias in the pursuit of criminal offenders to give the people on the continent faith in their judgement. Peace.

Reference:

International Commission Jurist (ICJ) – ‘South Africa should not withdraw from the International Criminal Court’ (March 2017)

South Africa: Withdrawal of Notification of Withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (07.03.2017)

Opinion: My 2 Cents on why the African Nations leave the ICC or want to!

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“A founding signatory of the Rome Statute, on ICC: Yes we should be out of the ICC. ICC is not serious. It is partisan. There are so many people who should have been tried if they were serious. The way to go is to have our own African Criminal Court. Trying to work with ICC was a mistake” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni [at the Second #UGDebate on the 13th February 2016]

As Washington is shocked by the recent events, that the International Criminal Court which is stationed in The Hague and the Netherlands; where they ironically are closing down prisons because of lacks of criminals. The International Community and the African Nations are triggering the Article 127 of the Rome Statute of 1997 to Withdraw from the honourable justice chambers of this so-called earth. There is certain reflections and vivid reasons for why this is happing. And I will try to sort it out, the Westerns and Europeans, even some Americans might be offend, but still carry it and take it for what it is.

“In June 2009, Comoros, Djibouti, and Senegal called on African States Parties to withdraw en mass from the Statute in protest against allegations that the ICC was targeting Africans. This declaration was specifically in reference to Sudanese Pres. Omar al-Bashir’s indictment” (Mbaku, Weber State University).

The ICC is not a pre-historic relic of the European Colonial past, still the actions of is of a seemingly imperialistic affair where the smaller newer nations and less resourceful have been targeted at much higher extent than the ones of more sophisticated countries who are not former colonialized. That is a fact and not NRM fiction. Just a certainty that the further hurt the African sovereign nations that they even has Executives under the microscope for their actions while Tony Blair and George W. Bush walks around like Kings on this earth. It’s not like the powers to be, touches the big-men from there, but around the corner they get taken away quicker than ice-cream on a hot-summer-day.

Not that the men and woman who has been questioned and been under investigations has been involved in crimes and activity against the humanity. They have and many using child-soldiers, used ethnicity to win power and even some killings to the level of genocide.

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“Article 127

Withdrawal

  1. A State Party may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the

United Nations, withdraw from this Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date.

  1. A State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute, including any financial obligations which may have accrued. Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective” (ICC, P: 74, 2011).

Burundi withdraws:

“President Pierre Nkurunziza, who critics accuse of human rights abuses, signed a decree late on Tuesday that paves the way for his east African nation’s departure from the court. His decision comes at time when the ICC is conducting a preliminary investigation into politically motivated violence in Burundi in which several hundred people died” (Alionby, 2016).

South Africa withdraws:

“Under the Rome Statute, the 2002 treaty that established the court, countries are obligated to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal. “Legal uncertainty” around the statute blocks South Africa from resolving conflicts through dialogue, including inviting adversaries for visits, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said, and handing over a foreign leader to the court would have amounted to an infringement of South Africa’s sovereignty” (…) “The Rome Statute “is in conflict and inconsistent with” South Africa’s law giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, Mr. Masutha said at a news conference on Friday. The question is before the country’s high court” (…) “Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane this week formally notified the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, of South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the international court. Leaving the body would take about a year, during which South Africa would still have to cooperate with the court’s proceedings”  (Chan & Marlise, 2016).

This is happening while the ICC has asked for Nations who has signed up for the Rome Statute and the ICC. This has been South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. The Non-compliance documents of Djibouti and Uganda has even come in 11th July 2016. The Arrest Warrant on President Omar Al-Bashir we’re set on 4th March 2009. There has gone 7 years has passed and his still roaming around with countries willingly delivering “non-compliance” documentations to the ICC for their non-cooperation towards them.

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There are more running cases on the continent… some of them are:

The ICC Prosecutor has opened cases against 26 individuals in connection with five African countries. Twenty-five of these remain open; the 26th, against Darfur rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, was dismissed by judges, though the prosecutor may attempt to submit new evidence in an attempt to re-open it. The cases stem from investigations into violence in Libya, Kenya’s post-election unrest in 2007-2008, rebellion and counter-insurgency in the Darfur region of Sudan, the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in central Africa, civil conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and a 2002-2003 conflict in the Central African Republic. The Prosecutor is also examining 2010-2011 violence in Côte d’Ivoire, a 2009 military crackdown on opposition supporters in Guinea, and inter-communal violence in central Nigeria, but has not opened formal investigations or opened cases with regard to these situations. Uganda, DRC, CAR, Kenya, Nigeria, and Guinea are states parties to the ICC. Sudan, Libya, and Côte d’Ivoire are not. ICC jurisdiction in Sudan and Libya stems from U.N. Security Council actions, while jurisdiction in Côte d’Ivoire was granted by virtue of a declaration submitted by the Ivorian Government on October 1, 2003, which accepted the jurisdiction of the Court as of September 19, 2002.25 Five suspects—four Congolese nationals and one Rwandan—are currently in ICC custody. The ICC Prosecutor has sought summonses, rather than arrest warrants, in connection with attempted prosecutions of Darfur rebel commanders and of Kenyan suspects. The Prosecutor has not secured any convictions to date” (Congressional Reaserch Service, 2011).

The Kenyan case we’re like the Prosecutor said wasn’t done, but for now there wasn’t able to follow through on evidence and make a case worth living. That is me translating the jurors lingo. The IGAD communique on the 6th April 2016: “The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) joins Kenyans of all walks of life to rejoice the collapse of cases against the Deputy President, H.E. William Samoei Ruto and his co-accused, radio journalist, Joshua Arap Sang at the International Criminal Court in The Hague yesterday” (…) “It would be recalled that IGAD had condemned the way the ICC had handled the Kenyan cases from the beginning. During a press conference held in Nairobi on 22nd March 2011, Amb Mahboub stated clearly IGAD’s position on the deferral request of the ICC cases by Kenya pointing out that the trials would “weaken the country and weaken the region” (IGAD, 06.04.2016).

The Kenyan government President Kenyatta the day before on the 5th April 2016:

“Earlier today, Trial Chamber V (a) of the International Criminal Court acquitted my Deputy President, Honourable William Ruto, and Mr. Joshua Arap Sang. I welcome the aforementioned decision, which reaffirms my strong conviction from the beginning about the innocence of my Deputy President. From the start of this case, I have believed that this case was ill-conceived and never grounded on the proper examination of our experience of 2007/2008 as a nation” (…) “Each and every Kenyan was touched by the tragedy that befell our nation in 2007-2008. Each and every victim of this unfortunate happening matters. Not one of them has been forgotten. Their suffering demanded of us as leadership to seek reconciliation. My Deputy and I campaigned and were elected on a platform to unite and reconcile our motherland. When you entrusted the leadership of the country to our administration, you made us responsible for the healing and reconciliation of our people” (Kenyatta, Uhuru – ‘H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta Statement on ICC verdict on the Ruto and Sang Case’ 05.04.2016).

So with this in mind, the Kenyan Government have been thoroughly investigated by the ICC recently over time since the ICC charged people close connected to the current leadership and government. They even at some point had a case against the Kenyan President Kenyatta, but they let it slide because they got no witness angle on him. The Jubilee has fought back and has done their duty towards Courts. Still the wound of charges, the appearance and the trial has hurt.

The newest ICC cases into Africa is the post-election violence where even the Parliament we’re put on fire.  “In the letter of referral to the ICC signed by Gabon’s Justice Minister Denise Mekamne Edzidzie, the government accuses Ping and his supporters of incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity” (…) “It highlights a speech which Ping gave during his electoral campaign, in which he allegedly called on his supporters to “get rid of the cockroaches.” (…) “These words were an incitement to commit the crime of genocide,” the letter says” (France24, 2016). The Gabonese Authorities tries to pin it on the Opposition as the election rigging made the public mad and not just the supporters of Jean Ping. If the ICC uses this opportunity not to pin it on themselves as the Second Generation for life President Bongo!

African Union Letter to the ICC on the 29th January 2014:

au-letter-icc-jan-2014-p1au-letter-icc-jan-2014-p2au-letter-icc-jan-2014-p3au-letter-icc-jan-2014-p4

So the long-stemming grievances are now coming into effect. The feeling of being targets while others walk scotch-free. The inaccurate acts of being the main ones, even as the violence, genocides and crimes against humanity happen; the leaders don’t want a hanging gallows over their heads. Still, the acts of many current Presidents and their Regimes are using armies like Ethiopia against civilians. If they weren’t a strong ally of the United States, they would have a cherry to pick at the courts. President Museveni fears for place, the same should President Mugabe that never been for the Gukurahundi massacres we’re Zimbabwean Republican Police killed 20,000 people. These are men who fear the ICC and would do what they can to not be touched by their current sins and the ones of old.

Sudan, the country of President Omar Al-Bashir has said this in the recent our about the matter:

“This wise decision is established by the Republic of Burundi on objective grounds that the so-called International Criminal Court has become a tool of pressure and instability in the under-development countries. Further, the opening of investigations against some leaders is a result of pressures exercised by the western force,” the statement cited by the Sudan Tribune said” (Akwei, 2016).

So the country who has the Executive under charges, the other one of late has been forces away from power, but still men who was in charge of their respectable nations President Laurent Gbagbo who have now recently been in trial at ICC:

“On Thursday, Mr. Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, will go on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, facing four counts of crimes against humanity stemming from the violence surrounding the 2010 presidential election. He was narrowly defeated in a runoff, but he insisted that he had won and refused to cede power, leading to months of turmoil and the deaths of more than 3,000 people before his arrest in April 2011” (…) “The trial of Mr. Gbagbo is an important challenge for the International Criminal Court. He is the first former president to reach trial at the tribunal, which has been in operation for a decade with a mandate to deal with war crimes and genocide. Also on trial with him will be Charles Blé Goudé, one of Mr. Gbagbo’s militia leaders in the 2011 upheaval, which followed more than a decade of ethnic political violence in Ivory Coast” (Rothschild, 2016).

So with this in mind, he isn’t a guerrilla fighting with child-soldiers like the ones charged by the ICC when coming to Lord Resistance Army and others who has been charged for violations against humanity in the ICC. These being Bosco the Terminator from the Democratic Republic of Congo, also that the former Vice President of Pierre Bemba of the MLC has been charged for his crimes, while his President Joseph Kabila walks free for his sins. This proves the neglect and the handpicked cases of the ICC. Reasons why the African Union and others are claiming so, partly righteous, partly wrong! The key to this, if the ICC want to be serious as an International legal institution… it needs cases and probes into states in Europe, America and Asia; not only War-Lords in Africa. That is just Neo-Colonialism and proves the questionable attributes to the character of the laws and big-man politics of the world. Peace.

Reference:

Akwei, Ismail – ‘Sudan urges mass African withdrawal from the ICC’ (21.10.2016) link: http://www.africanews.com/2016/10/21/sudan-urges-mass-african-withdrawal-from-the-icc/

Alionby, John – ‘Burundi becomes first nation to quit International Criminal Court’ (19.10.2016) link: https://www.ft.com/content/ce408588-95bf-11e6-a1dc-bdf38d484582

Chan, Sewell & Simons, Marlise – ‘South Africa to Withdraw From International Criminal Court’ (21.10.2016) link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/world/africa/south-africa-international-criminal-court.html?_r=0

Congressional Research Service – ‘International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues’ (22.07.2011) link: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34665.pdf

France24 – ‘ICC opens preliminary probe into Gabon unrest’ (29.09.2016) link: http://www.france24.com/en/20160929-icc-opens-preliminary-probe-situation-gabon

Mbaku, John Mukum – ‘Africa’s Case Against the ICC’, Weber State University

 

Rothschild, Saskia de – ‘Trial of Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo Will Test International Criminal Court’ (27.01.2016) link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/28/world/africa/ivory-coast-laurent-gbagbo-hague-trial.html

 

International Criminal Court – Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (17.07.1998 in force on 01.07.2002) Copyrighted 2011

Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, concerning referral from the Gabonese Republic (29.09.2016)

bongo-un

On 21 September 2016, I received a referral from the Government of the Gabonese Republic regarding the situation in Gabon since May 2016 with no end-date. In reference to article 14 of the Rome Statute, Rule 45 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and Regulation 25(1)(b) of the Regulations of the Office of the Prosecutor, the Government of the Gabonese Republic requests the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) “to open an investigation without delay”.

In accordance with the requirement of the Rome Statute my Office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met. A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.

Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, as Prosecutor, I must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination. The Office gives due consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of a preliminary examination, strictly guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute and in the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate.

My Office will examine information regarding crimes allegedly committed by any groups or individuals involved in the situation. Where a referral is accompanied by supporting documentation that identifies potential perpetrators, my Office is not bound or constrained by the information contained therein when conducting investigations in order to determine whether specific persons should be charged. After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course.

The Gabonese Republic is a State Party to the Rome Statute, and as such, the ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of Gabon since 1 July 2002, the date when the Statute entered into force in Gabon.

Referral under Article 14 of the Rome Statute submitted by the Gabonese Republic

Power of Attorney

For background, see The Office of the Prosecutor’s Policy Paper on Preliminary Examinations, November 2013, particularly par. 27

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.

mailto:OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int

Kagame says he will not arrest Bashir (Youtube-Clip)

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame says his Sudanese counterpart Omar-el-Bashir is free to attend the Africa Union Summit scheduled for July in the Rwandan capital Kigali. Kagame made the remarks at the World Economic Forum just a day after President Museveni railed against the world court much to the disappointment of foreign diplomats” (NTV Uganda, 2016).

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya to the United Nations – Letters and note: 561/14 and 612/14.

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Letter number two:

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