- Inducing and Soliciting Crimes against Humanity under Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute. A Prima facie case against President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.”
Overview by Rosalie Dieleman, Research Associate PILPG-NL
Can persons in positions of power be held accountable for speeches which induce and solicit the perpetration of crimes against humanity, under article 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute?
Alison Smith (NPWJ) noticed that the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has expressed that she will be closely following the situation in the Philippines.
Harry Roque noted that the statement by Bensouda could have the effect of undoing everything that much of civil society in Asia has been fighting for over the last 15 years and stressed the importance of the complementarity principle.
This side-event was organized by the NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ). Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program at No Peace Without Justice, presented the results of their research concerning President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Smith expressed growing concern over rising nationalism and extremism, and over the fact that people in positions of power are seemingly allowed to make increasingly violent or hate inducing statements. Therefore, NPWJ decided to research what the liability is for public statements inducing or soliciting crimes against humanity, centering around the public statements made by President Duterte of the Phillipines.
For the research concerning only the crime against humanity of murder, only public statements and other publicly available information were used as sources. The crime of murder here refers to the reportedly more than 3.000 extrajudicial killings that are being linked to Duterte’s war on drug dealers. The question is thus whether persons in positions of power can be held accountable for speeches which induce and solicit the perpetration of crimes against humanity, under article 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute. The purpose of this side-event was to present the results and engage in a discussion with experts on criminal law and experts on the situation of the Philippines.
The report looks at two aspects, namely whether the elements of crimes against humanity are met, and whether the evidence will be enough to pass through all the stages of a successful case at the ICC. On the basis of the public evidence available, NPWJ concludes that both aspects are fulfilled. Smith noticed that the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has expressed that she will be closely following the situation in the Phillipines.
After the brief presentation of the results, the attendees had the opportunity to comment and ask questions. Harry Roque, Member of Congress and representative of the Philippines to the ICC, shared his observations with regards to the effect of the statement of Bensouda concerning the accession of the Philippines and possible other Asian states. He expressed his fear that this will lead to the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute, as well as the deterrent effect it has on the possible accession of other Asian states. He noted that the statement by Bensouda could have the effect of undoing everything that much of civil society in Asia has been fighting for over the last 15 years, and stressed the importance of the complementarity principle. Adding to this that Duterte has only been in office for a little over a hundred days, the Philippines should at least be given the opportunity to prosecute in domestic courts. Additionally, if civil society wants to intervene, he questioned, why do they not do so in domestic courts?
Ambassador Ledda, of the Philippines in The Hague, stressed how deeply the drug problem is embedded in the society, and that the government is trying to control a group that has a lot of resources. The Ambassador questioned why there is no move from the international community towards dealing with these criminal groups, and stressed the need for civil society and government to cooperate with regards to this matter.