Colmenares: Duterte’s ICC case to continue despite Sabio withdrawal
MANILA, Philippines — Former lawmaker and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares on Wednesday said the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) preliminary examination of President Rodrigo Duterte will continue even if lawyer Jude Sabio withdraws his communication.
Colmenares said that Sabio’s communication is not the only case pending in the ICC, adding that the case filed by families of extra-judicial killings (EJK) victims “is very strong.”
“The case filed by families of EJK victims is very strong as it is supported by affidavits of witnesses, government reports, official Philippine National Police (PNP) statistics, and Pres. Duterte’s admission to ordering the killings,” Colmenares said in a statement.
Colmenares’ remarks came after Sabio announced on Tuesday that he was withdrawing his communication before the ICC alleging Duterte committed crimes against humanity.
Sabio is a lawyer for a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), Edgar Matobato.
Other cases sufficient
Colmenares said that Sabio’s complaint was “mainly centered” on testimonies of DDS members Matobato and Arturo Lascañas as well as reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Meanwhile, the evidence in the case filed by the group Rise Up against Duterte are “direct evidence by witnesses and the families of the victims themselves,” Colmenares said.
“This case is sufficient to assure the continuation of the case and the indictment of Pres. Duterte in the ICC,” he said.
Further, Colmenares said the Rome Statute does not provide for withdrawal of communication filed by an informant.
Additionally, the ICC may still consider the factual allegations of Atty. Sabio despite his withdrawal.
“If he only procedurally withdrew his communication, but did not retract his allegations that Pres. Duterte ordered the killings, then his data on EJKs may still be considered by the Prosecutor,” Colmenares said.