• Melo Acuna

Former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to act counsel to Sec. Del Rosario's ICC Complaint

International Criminal Court to receive facts on Del Rosario’s and Morales’ complaints vs President Xi Jinping

MANILA – Former Foreign Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario today said the United States, a number of European and Asian countries have confronted China “for its persistent violations of international law” which include human rights, territorial integrity of States and Law of the Sea.

Speaking at an online forum with the theme “Under Beijing’s Shadow: Southeast Asia’s China Challenge” this morning, the former cabinet official said vigilance is required because the issues facing the people these days “will shape the future of our world and our country’s place in it.

“For our part, we continue with our own efforts to demand accountability from China, ever since it started in the 1980s to take away land and waters in the South China Sea belonging to Filipinos,” he said.

He added he and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales filed a Communication with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court last March 13,2019 where they described how Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials committed crimes against humanity by depriving Filipinos and other coastal inhabitants in the South China Sea of their food and livelihood.

Quoting from the ICC statute, Secretary del Rosario said “inhuman acts… intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury ti body and to mental or physical health” that must not go unpunished.

He said China has prevented Filipino fishermen from pursuing their livelihood in the Scarborough Shoal and within the Exclusive Economic Zone as it blocks the development of the Philippines’ natural resources, the destruction of marine environment, building pf military facilities in areas within the Philippines’ EEZ and “ridiculously confronting our President with the threat of war.”

Former Secretary del Rosario said the ICC’s office of the Prosecutor released a report raising jurisdictional concerns on the Communication he and former Ombudsman Morales filed. The ICC said for it to take jurisdiction, the crimes described in their Communication should occur in Philippine territory which includes territorial sea.

He said if the crimes described occurred not only in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines within its territorial sea or landmass, the ICC has basis to proceed with their Communication or complaint.

Secretary del Rosario said former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio agreed to act as their counsel in the ICC case.

“Justice Carpio’s unparalleled wisdom and expertise in the South china Sea issue have raised our confidence in the case and will surely bolster our chances in the ICC,” he said.

He explained that the crimes committed by President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials occurred not only in the EEZ of the Philippines but also in its territorial sea and the coast of Luzon.

In his keynote address, he enumerated the alleged infractions China did from the reclamation activities in the Spratlys, in Subi Reef, the blockade made by Chinese officials within Scarborough Shoal, the 322 Chinese militia vessels swarming Pag-asa’s shores for over 450 days from2018 to 2019 which he said meant to harass the Filipinos in Pag-Asa Island and prevent fishermen from pursuing their livelihood.

He cited the ramming of F/B Gem-Ver in Reed Bank where 22 Filipino fishermen were left to die until they were ultimately recovered by the Philippine Navy.

“While this occurred in the Philippine EEZ, this falls within ICC jurisdiction because the Chinse crime was committed against a Philippine-registered vessel,” he added.

He called on other states to submit similar communications to the ICC to make Chinese officials accountable for their atrocities. He reported more than 98,000 Filipinos have signed an online statement of support for their position to holed President Xi and other Chinese officials criminally laccountable for their actions in the South China Sea. (Melo M. Acuña)

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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