ICC arrest warrant for Putin ‘fair warning’ to those who deny justice to drug war victims – Hontiveros

Senator Risa Hontiveros said Saturday that the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Russian President Vladimir Putin should serve as a “fair warning” to those who continue to deny justice to victims of the previous administration’s war on drugs.

On Friday, the Hague-based ICC said it had issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

Moscow, which is not a party to the ICC, dismissed the orders as “void.”

“The arrest warrant for President Putin is a strong message to the global community that the world will not idly watch while war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity are being committed within the territories of individual countries,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“Moscow may continue to argue that the warrants are moot, but member-states of the ICC are duty-bound to arrest those upon whom warrants are served when they come into the territory of an ICC member-state. This already severely curtails the movement of perpetrators. Further, Kyiv has accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC over crimes on its territory,” she added.

Hontiveros said she hoped that something could be learned from the ICC’s action against Putin.

“I can only hope that there is something to be learned from this. To those who continue to deny justice to victims of state-sponsored abuses, including the excesses of a failed drug war, consider this a fair warning. ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,'” she added.

The ICC is looking into allegations that crimes against humanity occurred in the implementation of the campaign against illegal drugs under former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa Dela Rosa, the national police chief during the height of the drug war under the Duterte administration, maintained that the justice system in the country is already working, saying that “the Philippines is far from being a failed state.”

Dela Rosa also raised the question of who will implement the arrest warrant for Putin.

“Wala naman tayo control sa kanila kung maglabas sila ng warrant of arrest; wala tayong problema dyan ang tanong sino mag-implement ng warrant of arrest na ‘yan. Sino mag-implement yung PNP (Philippine National Police) or NBI (National Bureau of Investigation)? Sabihin naman [ng PNP or NBI] we are not bound by your whatever decisions dahil hindi kami miyembro,” Dela Rosa said in a radio interview.

(We have no control over the ICC; if they issue a warrant of arrest, we have no problem with that; the question is, who will implement the warrant of arrest? Is it the PNP or the NBI? They will just say that we are not bound by your whatever decisions because we are not members of the ICC.)

Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the Hague-based tribunal’s Rome Statute in 2018, with the withdrawal taking effect in 2019, after the ICC began a preliminary probe into the allegations of state-sanctioned killings in his war on drugs.

The Philippines earlier called on the ICC not to resume its investigation into Duterte’s deadly drug war, insisting the tribunal has no jurisdiction as a result of the withdrawal.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., meanwhile, said that the Philippines had “no intention” of rejoining the ICC.

Official records on Duterte’s war on drugs show it has left more than 6,000 people dead.

Several human rights groups, however, claimed that the death toll was much higher. —VBL, GMA Integrated News

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