ICC probe on PH desperate attempt for funds: lawyer
By Benjamin Pulta / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Outspoken lawyer Larry Gadon criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) which bared plans to investigate “crime against humanity of murder” in the Philippines.
Gadon said the ICC is merely desperate for attention as it seeks continued existence and funding under the guise of investigation.
“Pera. Ito lang ang motibo ng ICC prosecutor na si Fatou Bensouda sa pagdakdak dyan sa peke na EJK (extra-judicial killing) cases sa International Criminal Court. Kailangan kunwari may ginagawa imbestigasyon upang may dahilan ang patuloy na pagkubra ng sahod, sweldo, allowances, travel benefits, representation expenses and other privileges. Kailangan ng ICC na magmukhang may saysay ang kanilang ginagawa upang patuloy ang pagdaloy ng pondo at donasyon na kanilang pinakikinabangan ng personal (Money. This is the sole motive of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in speaking against fake EJK cases in the International Criminal Court. They need to make it appear that an investigation is being undertaken to earn their keep, wages, allowances, travel benefits, representation expenses, and other privileges. The appearance of working is needed to ensure funds and donations continue to come in),” he told the Philippine News Agency on Saturday.
Bensouda ended her three-year term as ICC Chief Prosecutor on June 15, 2021. She was previously Deputy Prosecutor from September 2004.
Gadon also pointed out the background of Bensouda as a justice minister from 1998 to 2000 under the administration of former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.
Jammeh assumed power through a coup d'etat in 1994 and was widely accused of systematic attacks on the press and the opposition.
In 2016, Gambia under Jammeh started the process of withdrawing from the ICC before the process was reversed by his successor, Adama Barrow.
"Hindi dapat paniwalaan itong si Bensouda na nanggaling sa Gambia, isang backward na bansa sa Africa (Bensouda who came from a backward African country should not be given credibility)," Gadon said.
Gadon also pointed out that the late lawyer, Jude Sabio, who initiated the ICC complaint in 2017, said prior to his death in April that his allegations were concocted.
"Pinasubalian na ni Atty. Jude Sabio ang complaint nya sa ICC laban kay President Duterte at inamin nya sa kanyang sinumpaang salaysay na lahat ng bintang nya ay imbento lang at hearsay na sya mismo ay walang ebidensya ng mga EJK . Pera lang ang dahilan kaya nag-iingay itong si Bensouda upang makubra nya ang retirement pay at benefits nya (Atty. Jude Sabio said his complaint before the ICC against President Duterte was concocted and based on hearsay and he had no evidence. Money is the motive of Bensouda’s move so she can claim her retirement pay and other benefits)," Gadon said.
In a statement on June 14, Bensouda announced that the preliminary examination, which started Feb. 8, 2018, into the situation in the Philippines “has concluded and that I have requested judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation”.
“I have determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the Government of Philippines "war on drugs" campaign,” her statement read.
She said their “thorough preliminary examination process” showed the Philippine National Police, and others acting in concert with them, have unlawfully killed between several thousand and tens of thousands of civilians during that time”.
The ICC’s mandate is to investigate and, where warranted, try individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
It has been criticized for, among other things, allegations that hearsay evidence is allowed, and allegations of no right to a speedy trial, a public trial, or reasonable bail.
Bensouda was appointed Chief Prosecutor after a strong lobby by the African Union for stronger representation in the ICC.
At the time, the ICC investigated conflicts in Africa nations Sudan, Libya, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, and the Central African Republic.
Last April, the US government revoked former president Donald Trump's Executive Order 13928, ending sanctions against Bensouda, and a senior staff member of her office, Phakiso Mochochoko, as well as visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel imposed by the previous administration following plans to investigate American servicemen in Afghanistan.
Despite lifting the sanctions, the US said it "continues to disagree strongly with the ICC's actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations” and the ICC’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the US and Israel. (PNA)