ICC ASP: NPWJ convenes Side event on "A prima facie case against Philippines President Duterte"

15th ASP to the ICC, The Hague, 21 November 2016

In the margins of the 15th Session of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) convened a Side Event on “International Criminal Liability for Spoken Word Alone: Inducing and Soliciting Crimes against Humanity under Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome ICC Statute. A prima facie case against President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines”, which was held on 21 November 2016 (from 11:00 to 13:00, Antarctica Room, World Forum, The Hague).
Since his rise to power, President Duterte engaged in an infamous “war on drugs” that has led to the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug users and dealers. According to UN experts, “more than 850 people have been killed between 10 May, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines vowing to crackdown on crime, and 11 August 2016. As of 14 October 2016, 12:00pm, a “Kill List” that is updated twice a week by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, indicates that since 10 May 2016, 1,372 persons have been killed as a result of Duterte’s administration “war on crime”. President Duterte himself has publicly expressed his delight at the deadly results of his campaign and the “war on drugs” continues.

Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said on 30 September 2016: “There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them. […] If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself. Amid mounting criticism, he assured policemen and soldiers that he will protect them, and that they will not be prosecuted for the crimes they have committed.
The Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 30 August 2011 and it entered into force on 1 November 2011. In a statement on 13 October 2016, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared that she is “deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force”.
Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome ICC Statute enshrines the principle that an individual is criminally responsible and liable for punishment for crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction if that person “solicits” or “induces” the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted.
Well established international jurisprudence makes it clear that “solicitation” and “inducement” as forms of liability do not require any hierarchical relationship between the person inducing or soliciting and a perpetrator carrying out the crime. The crime under the jurisdiction of the ICC needs to have been actually committed or attempted, but the direct perpetrator need not be under the control of the inducer or solicitor, but merely persuaded, encouraged or provoked to commit the crime of his or her own will.
The side event proposed an analysis of the situation in light of the Rome ICC Statute and aimed to discuss ways in which the Court may take on the situation, both as a way to curb state sponsored violence in the Philippines and to send a wider message to political leaders that soliciting, inducing and inciting crimes under international law carries consequences whether or not a direct hierarchical relationship with the direct perpetrators can be proven.


For further information, please contact Amison Smith, legal counsel and Director for International Criminal Justice of NPWJ, on asmith@npwj.org  or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on ngiovannini@npwj.org.