Press Release
March 23, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 492:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on the alleged weaponization of Human Rights by the ICC

Our Foreign Affairs Secretary tells us that one reason for the country's pullout from the Rome Statute is because the International Criminal Court (ICC) has "weaponized human rights to defend the drug trade."

For all his eloquence and notable capacity for cerebral discourse, such a remark is evidently a contorted and ludicrous attempt from yet another of the President's men to defend the indefensible.

That the ICC has weaponized human rights is a fallacious, self-serving position adopted by the Duterte government to brush aside mounting international criticisms on human rights violations committed in Duterte's war on drugs.

The phrase "weaponization of human rights" was previously used to describe a form of low-intensity conflict strategy deployed by western powers to undermine uncooperative third world governments by attacking their human rights record as a prelude to active intervention if not outright regime-change. The Duterte regime has always used this phrase instead to criticize the United Nations mechanisms established to check and monitor UN member countries' compliance with international human rights standards, viz., the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteurs. The Duterte government is now using the same phrase to delegitimize the ICC's processes insofar as its examination and eventual investigation of the Philippine situation is concerned.

The so-called "politicization and weaponization of human rights" framework is the Duterte government's propaganda phrase and over-all strategy to discredit the UNHRC and international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who have been consistently calling for its accountability in its deadly war on drugs. The Duterte administration is now merely using the same strategy to attack the ICC, especially now that ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has declared that her preliminary examination on the Philippine situation continues despite the effectivity of the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute last March 17, 2019.

This only means that regardless of Duterte's and his men's protestations, the ICC process of charging and trying a case of crimes against humanity involving Duterte continues. It is therefore only a matter of time before Duterte and his cohorts are finally held accountable for the atrocities committed by government security forces and vigilantes.

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