COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) chairman Chito Gascon on Thursday, October 4 said that more “confidential communications” containing information on the alleged human rights violations by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration have been sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
There are at least four other communications filed before the ICC in addition to those that have already been publicized, according to him.
Gascon told ANC, “We are aware that there are other confidential communications that have already been submitted, both from the Philippines – from non-government organizations and other victims’ groups – as well as other internationally submitted communications.”
“These are under what’s called confidential procedures,” he added.
One of the communications, he said, tackled alleged violations against women and children, but declined to divulge any more information about it.
In April 2017, lawyer Jude Sabio filed a communication to the ICC seeking the prosecution of Duterte over the government’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs, as noted by Philstar. Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV filed a supplemental communication along with Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda last February said she would initiate a preliminary examination on the matter. This led to the Duterte administration withdrawing the country’s signature to the agreement that created the ICC.
A second communication was filed in August by relatives of those killed in the war on drugs.
Gascon made a clarification that the communications are not the actual complaints that will be filed with the international court.
He said the communications as well as as other sources of communication that the ICC collects “will constitute the body of facts or information that will prompt them to investigate further.”
“While we have not submitted a communication ourselves, we made a public statement that we are ready to cooperate with the ICC. We are now working with individual victims,” he added.
He urged the government for its cooperation with the ongoing preliminary examination.
He gave out a warning that the international community is taking note of public statements made by Philippine officials as well.
“All these statements are facts that cannot be denied or set aside as being jokes. The fact that the President said ‘my only sin is EJK (extrajudicial killing)’ at the very least is an acknowledgement that the killings are occurring,” Gascon said.
“He already mentioned ninja cops so there is an acknowledgement that there are police officers who have crossed the line. The next question of course is, has any of these police officers have been held to account?” he asked.
According to him, it is in the best interest of the country that it does all it can to prevent the killings from happening and respect human rights.