‘I will arrest you’: Duterte warns ICC prosecutor to steer clear of Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has cited numerous reasons why he believes the ICC has no jurisdiction over him, and on Friday suggested that any doubts about that should have been dispelled by his withdrawal from the international court. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2018
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‘I will arrest you’: Duterte warns ICC prosecutor to steer clear of Philippines

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to arrest an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor if she conducts activities in his country, arguing it was no longer an ICC member so the court had no right to do any investigating.
Hitting out at what he said was an international effort to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights,” Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the ICC’s Rome Statute a month ago and promised to continue his crackdown on drugs, in which thousands have been killed.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in February announced the start of a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Philippine lawyer which accuses Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity, and of killing criminals as a policy.
Duterte has cited numerous reasons why he believes the ICC has no jurisdiction over him, and on Friday suggested that any doubts about that should have been dispelled by his withdrawal.
“What is your authority now? If we are not members of the treaty, why are you ... in this country?” told reporters, in comments aimed at Bensouda.
“You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you.”
It is not clear whether Bensouda or the ICC has carried out any activities in the Philippines related to the complaint against Duterte.
The office of the prosecutor in The Hague and the Philippine foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Police have since July 2016 killed more than 4,000 people they say are drug dealers who resisted arrest. Activists say many of those were executions, which police deny.
Duterte has told security forces not to cooperate with any foreign investigators and last month said he would convince other ICC members to withdraw.
Duterte had earlier vowed to face the ICC and critics say pulling out is futile, because the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate alleged crimes committed in the period from when the Philippines joined in 2011 to when its withdrawal takes effect in March 2019.
Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can step in and exercise jurisdiction if states are unable or unwilling to investigate suspected crimes.
But the mercurial former mayor and his legal aides argue that technically, the Philippines never actually joined the ICC, because it was not announced in the country’s official gazette.
“If there is no publication, it is as if there is no law at all,” Duterte said on Friday.


Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

Updated 18 min ago
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Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

  • The death came just a month after one of her colleagues was murdered
  • More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009

ABUJA: Daesh-allied Boko Haram militants have killed another kidnapped female Red Cross worker in northeast Nigeria in a “despicable act of cruelty,” the agency said on Tuesday, a month after militants murdered one of her colleagues.
Three female health workers were kidnapped on March 1 during a Boko Haram raid on the remote town of Rann, in Borno state, that killed three other aid workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.
Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), while the third, Alice Loksha, worked for the UN children’s agency, UNICEF.
The ICRC said on Tuesday it had received information Liman had been killed by her captors, without giving further details. The government had also earlier announced news of the second killing.
“The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts,” ICRC’s Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi said in a statement.
“We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female health care workers were killed back-to-back?“
There had been no news of the trio until last month when the ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa’s killing from a Boko Haram faction.
The faction then threatened to kill Liman and Loksha, as well as a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, in February.
The ICRC last weekend appealed for their release underscoring that they were “doing nothing but helping communities” in the conflict-riven region.
But Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed earlier announced the latest death as a deadline expired and said the government was “shocked and saddened” at the killing, calling it “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly.”
He did not initially identify the victim but later added in a tweet that he “commiserated with the family of Hauwa Liman.”
“It is very unfortunate that it has come to this. Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the federal government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker,” he said.
“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.”
He said officials continued to work to free the others from captivity.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, while nearly two million others remain homeless due to the conflict.
Nigeria’s military and government maintain the extremist rebels are weakened to the point of defeat but fighters from the Daesh-backed faction have conducted repeated raids on military bases in recent months.
The faction split from the faction led by long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in August 2016 in protest at the latter’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians in raids and suicide bombings.
Analysts say they believe the switch by militants from attacking “hard” government and military targets to killing hostages is the result of a hard-line takeover of the Daesh-backed faction.
Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, abducting thousands of women and girls, and forcing young men and boys to fight in their ranks.
The mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014 brought global attention to the insurgency and was widely condemned. Some 107 girls have since been released or found.