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We don’t need ICC! Palace calls ex-PH officials’ case vs. Xi a ‘futile exercise’

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The filing of a case by two former government officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court may be a “futile exercise” since China is not part of a tribunal, Malacañang said Saturday (March 23).

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the Philippines has also ceased to be a member of ICC.

“Whether or not the case will prosper is another matter. It could be dismissed because China is not a member of the ICC, so is the Philippines. The filing of the complaint may be a futile exercise. The ICC has no jurisdiction over China,” he said.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales submitted to the ICC a complaint against Xi, called a communication, on March 15, or two days before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the tribunal became official.

Del Rosario and Morales, together with a group of Filipino fishermen, accused Xi of committing crimes against humanity over China’s bid to control the South China Sea. They said Beijing’s actions have resulted to environmental damage in the disputed waters.

Panelo, however, said the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, does not include environmental damage.

“[E]ven assuming that the Philippines was a State Party when the complaint was filed, there could be an issue as regards the jurisdiction of the ICC, unless environmental damage can be considered as ‘ other inhuman acts’, which could be an overstretch,” he said.

Panelo said the Philippines is holding bilateral talks with China in a bid to resolve the maritime row in the South China Sea.

“We do not need the help or disturbance of a biased tribunal known to politically prosecute heads of state, the very reason why powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, to name only a few, have either withdrawn their membership as State Parties from the Rome Statute or declined to be members of the ICC,” he said.

Del Rosario and Morales have said that they filed a case against Xi before the ICC to rein in China’s “impunity” with regard to its actions in the South China Sea.

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