IL Newswire

‘This is a democracy’: Int’l court may be next for Duterte (AP)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged Tuesday that allegations he induced extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs could be raised to the International Criminal Court after an impeachment case failed in the House of Representatives.

“Yeah, he can go ahead. He is free to do it. This is a democracy,” Duterte said in reaction to a lawmaker saying he was considering bringing a case against the Philippine leader to the court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The impeachment complaint killed by a House committee Monday accused Duterte of multiple murders and crimes against humanity for adopting a state policy of inducing police and vigilantes into killing more than 8,000 suspected drug users and dealers outside the rule of law. The complaint also accused him of corruption, unexplained wealth, and taking a “defeatist stand” against China’s in the territorial row in the South China Sea.

The dismissal of Rep. Gary Alejano’s complaint was widely expected since the House is dominated by Duterte allies. But the president’s critics hope the procedure could bolster a lawsuit filed against him by a Filipino lawyer before the ICC for alleged extrajudicial killings by showing that domestic efforts to stop Duterte have failed.

The dismissal of the complaint, filed in March, bars any new impeachment case against Duterte until next March.

Since taking office in June, Duterte’s war on drugs has killed 7,000 to 9,000 suspected drug dealers and addicts, according to human rights groups. The government refutes that, releasing data on May 2 showing nearly 4,600 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and homicides found to be drug-related.

For more information, please see this report

Nakba Day 2017: 69 Years of Occupation in the Palestinian Territories

15 May 2017 marks the 69th anniversary of the start of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military presence in the Palestinian Territories has been declared an internationally condemned occupation by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and other various human rights organizations and UN Member States. According to The Hague Conventions of 1907 and Article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, there are a number of conditions an Occupying Power must follow in order for occupation to be permissible under international law. However, due to the continued building of settlements in the West Bank, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed that Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law as a violation of Article 49, stating that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

Every year on 15 May, Palestinians around the world take the streets to protest Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories and Israel’s Independence Day, which led to the forced removal of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1998, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat officially declared 15 May as Nakba Day, or ‘Catastrophe Day’. In response, Israeli government officials introduced a ‘Nakba Law’ in the Knesset, which authorizes the Israeli Finance Minister to “revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel's character as a "Jewish state" or mark the country's Independence Day as a day of mourning” (Al Jazeera). 

This Nakba Day, Palestinians are also commemorating the 29th day of the ongoing hunger strike carried out by Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The prisoners are demanding more visitation and communication rights with family members, better living conditions, and more medical services. Many claim that conditions in Israeli prisons violate the Third Geneva Convention, which call for humane treatment of political prisoners. 

Israel's alleged violations under international law have triggered numerous United Nations Resolutions that condemn Israeli policies that inflict on Palestinians' human rights. Every Nakba Day, therefore, addresses these alleged violations and calls for Israel to cooperate under international law and international humanitarian law.