Why Gary Alejano’s Plan To File A Complaint Against Duterte Is A Big Insult to the International Criminal Court

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Magdalo Party List Rep. Gary Alejano is reportedly mulling to file a case against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC). This, after the House of Representatives dismissed his impeachment complaint for lack of personal knowledge on his allegations regarding the extrajudicial killings under the President’s war on drugs.

What Alejano is planning on doing is a big insult to the ICC. Here’s why:

First of all, Alejano cannot file a case before the ICC. Only the Office of the Prosecutor can do so, but only after a complaint it receives from individuals like Alejano satisfies several criteria, among them, that the country’s government fails to act on the allegations. Then there’s the tedious process of investigation even before a recommendation is made to formally file a case.

The fact that Alejano’s initial complaint was coursed through a legal instrumentality of the state — the House of Representatives — punches a hole in his plan to elevate the issue to the ICC. Not only that, while his impeachment complaint was summarily dismissed by the House of Representatives, the dismissal was largely on the basis of Alejano’s own admission that he does not have personal knowledge of the contents of his complaint and that his basis for the allegations were reports he read in the news media.

Does Alejano really think that the ICC, or the Office of the Prosecutor for that matter, is dumber than the Philippine legislators so as to entertain his complaint without the appropriate facts to back him up?

We can only assume that the standards of the ICC are even stricter than those of individual member states.

Thousands upon thousands of complaints have been received by the ICC and the Office of the Prosecutor from many countries. More than half have been dismissed even before an investigation is initiated — for lack of jurisdiction or merit.

The ICC web site gives us an idea of how it is very difficult to succeed in bringing about, and winning a case filed before it:

There have thus far been 23 cases before the Court. ICC judges have issued 29 arrest warrants. Thanks to cooperation from States, 8 persons have been detained in the ICC detention centre and have appeared before the Court. Thirteen persons remain at large. Charges have been dropped against 3 persons due to their deaths. ICC judges have also issued 9 summonses to appear. The judges have issued 6 verdicts: 9 individuals have been found guilty and 1 has been acquitted. 

To even think that Alejano will succeed in having the Office of the Prosecutor initiate an investigation is to cast an utter lack of confidence on the competency of the ICC and its process — especially when the complaint is based on hearsay!

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