‘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

‘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.


Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

Updated 07 December 2019

Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

  • The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year
  • The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest

NEW DELHI: An alleged rape victim in northern India who was set on fire while heading to a court hearing in the case has died in a New Delhi hospital, officials said Saturday.
The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year, police said. The two were out of custody on bail.
Five men were arrested in connection with the burn attack, police said.
The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Shalab Kumar, head of the hospital’s burn unit.
Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, said that the case would be heard in a fast track court and that the “strictest of punishment will be given to the culprits.”
Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the opposition Congress party, faulted the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, for failing to provide the woman with security, even after a similar case in the state in which a woman who accused a BJP lawmaker of rape was severely injured in a vehicle hit-and-run incident.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is known for its poor record regarding crimes against women. According to the most recent available official crime records, police registered more than 4,200 cases of rape in the state in 2017 — the most in India.
Government figures for 2017 also show that police registered 33,658 cases of rape in the country. But the real figure is believed to be far higher as many women in India don’t report cases to police due to fear.
Indian courts also seem to be struggling to deal with these cases. Data shows that more than 90% of cases of crimes against women are pending in city courts.
The burn victim’s death came on the same day police in the southern state of Telangana fatally shot four men being held on suspicion of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian after investigators took them to the crime scene. Their deaths drew both praise and condemnation in a case that has sparked protests across the country.
The woman’s burned corpse was found last week by a passer-by near the city of Hyderabad, India’s tech hub, after she went missing the previous night.
Police took the four suspects, who had not been charged with any crime, to the scene to help them locate the victim’s phone and other items, officials said. They said the men grabbed police firearms and began shooting, and were killed when police returned fire.
The Telangana High Court ordered authorities to preserve the bodies of the suspects and submit a video of the autopsies ahead of a court hearing set for Monday.
Separately, the National Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous body within India’s Parliament, sent a fact-finding mission to the crime scene and mortuary where the suspects’ bodies were held on Saturday amid questions from opposition lawmakers about the circumstances of the suspects’ deaths.