February 29, 2024

Colmenares urges De Lima to testify in the ICC as witness, complainant in Duterte case

ICC Prosecutor urged to consider her participation in the investigation    

BAYAN Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, who is also counsel in the case filed by Rise Up for Life in the International Criminal Court (ICC), today urged former Sen. De Lima to testify in the Duterte case before the ICC as witness or complainant. 

“Former Sen. Leila de Lima could be a resource person, should she want to, in the pending cases against Ex-President Duterte in the ICC.  She has knowledge of the Davao Death Squads (DDS) based on her investigation of the DDS, not only as the DOJ Secretary but also when she was the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).  We urge Sen. De Lima to testify before the ICC and help in the search for justice by the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings during the reign of ex-president Duterte,” said Bayan Chairman Neri Colmenares who served as counsel for some of the victims in the ICC case against Duterte. 

 “In fact, she can even be a complainant in the various cases filed with the ICC.  We urge her to consider being a complainant herself.  It must be noted that in the complaint filed under the Rise Up for Life communication with the ICC, the complainants charged ex-president Duterte not only for murder but also for “other inhumane acts” to wit:

‘II. President Rodrigo Duterte is also criminally liable for the widespread and systematic attacks against civilians in the form of inhumane acts by intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or mental or physical health proscribed under Article 7 Paragraph (k) of the Rome Statute under his anti-drug policy which led to the death of thousands, the arrest of thousands, the illegal searches of thousands of residences and the torture of many of those arrested and the other injuries Duterte‘s policy caused on the victims and their families.’

“It must also be noted that the Rise Up Complaint specifically cited her case in their 2018 Complaint to wit:

‘(Pres. Duterte) has refused to acknowledge accountability by ensuring his control of accountability mechanisms such as the prosecution system and the courts, going after dissenters exemplified by the imprisonment of Sen. Leila De Lima and hundreds of activists…’

“Her persecution and detention started when she was arrested on February 24, 2017 long before the effectivity of the Philippine withdrawal from the ICC on March 17, 2019. Her case therefore falls within the ambit of the cases still pending before the ICC” declared Colmenares. “If Sen. Leila has already filed a complaint with the ICC, then that in fact greatly facilitates her testimony, as she can be directly a complainant herself and therefore should be allowed to testify.

“We urge the ICC Prosecutor to consider Sen. Leila de Lima as a witness or complainant in the pending cases against the Duterte.  We reiterate our call to Pres. Marcos to allow the ICC prosecutors to enter the Philippines to investigate, if only to help make the ICC investigation accessible to the families of victims of EJK under Duterte who have long searched for justice and accountability for the death of their loved ones” Colmenares concluded.