While she noted that the preliminary examination is only a first step in determining a possible basis for a formal ICC investigation, Sen. Leila de Lima called the move the “fulfillment of a hope and a dream.
AP/Bullit Marquez
De Lima: ICC review might be the ‘beginning of the end’ of Duterte’s regime
Gaea Katreena Cabico (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2018 - 2:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima is optimistic that the International Criminal Court’s decision to conduct a preliminary examination into the allegations linked to the country’s brutal war on drugs will eventually spell the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime.

While she noted that the preliminary examination is only a first step in determining a possible basis for a formal ICC investigation, De Lima called the move the “fulfillment of a hope and a dream.”

“It is a wish granted that indeed no crime should go unpunished even in countries ruled by strongmen and self-avowed dictators, where those culpable for the gravest crime of mass murder can no longer be prosecuted in their own domain because of the reign of impunity,” the former Justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chair said in a statement Friday.

She remains confident that in the process of examination, it will be clear that domestic accountability and prosecution for the thousands of killings is “non-existent.”

International criminal law prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Thursday said the initial review is to determine whether the communication of supposed government security forces since the start of Duterte’s term in July 2016 is within the court's jurisdiction.

The examination stems from a submission by Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio last year which cited possible crimes in the court of drug-related killings in the Philippines. Sabio also asked the court to look into extrajudicial deaths in the hands of police involved in anti-drug operations.

READICC to set initial review of accusations vs Duterte, drug war

Beginning of the end of the Duterte ‘kakistocracy’

De Lima, moreover, hit Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. for supposedly downplaying the announcement of the international tribunal.

Roque, who also serves as Duterte’s human rights adviser, called ICC’s move as a “waste of court’s time and resources.”

“If there is anyone who knows that the Office of the Prosecutor-ICC does not initiate criminal proceedings without serious deliberation and factual basis, it is the Malacañang spokesperson himself, a self-proclaimed international human rights lawyer who turned stooge to the most prolific mass murderer in the world today,” De Lima said.

She noted that the administration might “lie low” for a while and temporarily halt the killings by what she dubbed as “PNP death squads” to assuage the ICC prosecutor that there is no government-sponsored killings.

“But even these cosmetic options will not free Duterte from the reality that sooner or later, he might actually be charged with the mass murder of civilians as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute,” De Lima said.

The detained senator noted that the initial review might lead to the breakdown of the country’s foreign relations and the international isolation of Duterte and his administration.

“More than that, this might actually be the beginning of the end for the Duterte kakistocracy,” De Lima said.

READDespite ICC review, UN probe into drug war still needed — HRW

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