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(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)

CHICAGO (JGL) — Filipino American leader Loida Nicolas Lewis had challenged President Rody Duterte to release the voice print of an alleged tapped telephone conversation she had with

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International Criminal Court Prosecutor Ms. Fatou Bensuada that they conspired in filing the case of crimes against humanity and mass murders against him.

In a Facebook post, the New York city-based civic leader of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance said Friday (March 23), “Since President Duterte has revived his accusations with the same bogus, fake news, I want him to release the so-called telephone conversation I supposedly had regarding ICC case to investigate him.
“Once and for all, the truth will be known and he should then stop these false allegations against me.
“Thank you for sharing this letter until it reaches him.”


A Facebook videoclip going the rounds on the Internet is showing Philippine President Rody Duterte claiming that he has transcripts of conversations that show Filipino American Loida Nicolas Lewis of New York City and Chief Prosecutor Ms. Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands conspiring in filing a case against him for crimes against humanity and mass murder.

Mr. Duterte said the transcripts came from an article written by a German weekly newspaper, Der Spiegel (The Mirror), based in Hamburg, Germany.

Ms. Lewis had earlier described the videoclip conspiracy charges report as “fake news.”

A check by philamessenger.com on the Der Spiegel online English international edition has not shown existence of an article about the claims.

Both the Der Spiegel and Ms. Bensouda could not be reached for comment.


Meanwhile, on March 19, the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") was officially notified by the United Nations that the Republic of the Philippines had on March 17 deposited a written notification of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the Court's founding treaty, with the United Nations Secretary-General as the depositary of the Statute. The Court regrets this development and encourages the Philippines to remain part of the ICC family.

In a press statement posted on its website, the ICC said, withdrawing from the Rome Statute is a sovereign decision, which is subject to the provisions of  article 127 of that Statute.  


PRESIDENT ROA DUTERTE announcing having possession of transcripts linking ICC's Ms. Fatou Bensuada and Filipino American leader Loida Nicolas Lewis to conspire in filing a case of crimes against humanity and mass murder against him before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands in this photo grab from a videoclip.

A withdrawal becomes effective one year after the deposit of notice of withdrawal to the United Nations Secretary-General.  A withdrawal has no impact on on-going proceedings or any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective; nor on the status of any judge already serving at the Court.

As indicated recently in the ICC Pre-trial Chamber decision authorizing the opening of an investigation in relation to the situation in Burundi, the ICC retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time in which the State was party to the Statute and may exercise this jurisdiction over these crimes even after the withdrawal becomes effective.

The Court wishes to reaffirm that the participation of States in the Rome Statute and their continued support for the ICC in the discharge of its independent and impartial mandate is essential to global efforts to ensure accountability and strengthen the international rule of law.


The Rome Statute system, with the ICC at its centre, has judicially addressed and galvanised national and international efforts to address the most serious crimes under international law such as the use of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, torture, willful killing and the destruction of cultural heritage. 

The Court remains fully committed to its independent mandate to help end impunity in a complementary manner with States, and in so doing, contribute to the prevention of future atrocities. States' participation in the Rome Statute ought not only be maintained and reinforced, but enlarged.  


FILIPINO AMERICAN LEADER Loida Nicolas Lewis denied anew as "fake news" charges by President Duterte that she had conspired with ICC's Ms. Fatou Bensuada in filing charges of crimes against humanity and mass murders before the International Criminal Court. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)


The Republic of the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute on August 30, 2011 and the Statute entered into force from November 1, 2011.

The preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines was  announced by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC on Feb. 8, 2018. It will analyze crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least July 1, 2016, in the context of the "war on drugs" campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines.


MS. FATOU BENSOUADA (third from left), Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, is shown in a picture of a group attending the ongoing (March 21-23) training organized by the ICC in close collaboration with the Special Criminal Court and the Government of the Central African Republic, with financial support of the European Commission. It was Ms. Bensouada who announced last Feb. 8 that the she was conducting preliminary examination in the situation in the Philippines. The Office of Ms. Bensouda will “analyze crimes allegedly committed in the Philippines since at least July 1, 2016 in the context of the ‘war on drugs’” campaign launched by the government of Mr. Duterte. Others in photo are from left Ms Samuela Isopi, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Central African Republic, HE Simplice Sarandji, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic,  Mr. Toussaint Muntazini, Special Prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court, and Mr. Parfait Onanga Anyanga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Mission Chief of the MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic). (© ICC-CPI)

Specifically, it has been alleged that since July 1, 2016, thousands of persons have been killed for reasons related to their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing. While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations.


A preliminary examination is not an investigation. It is an initial step to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation. Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor, must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination.


THE PRESIDENT OF THE Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute, Mr. O-Gon Kwon (Republic of Korea), has expressed concern in response to the announcement that President Rodrigo Duterte has taken steps for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (“ICC"). "I regret this development. A State Party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts towards fighting impunity", said President Kwon. "The ICC needs the strong support of the international community to ensure its effectiveness. I encourage the Philippines to remain as a party to the Rome Statute.” President Kwon recalled that the Philippines has participated actively in the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute since becoming a State Party in 2011, and as recently as December 2017 had publicly reaffirmed its support for the principles of the Rome Statute and the Court. "All States Parties have the opportunity to voice their concerns before the Assembly, and I call on the authorities of the Philippines to engage in dialogue in this regard", President Kwon stated.(© ICC-CPI)

Under the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes.

In conformity with the complementarity principle, which is a cornerstone of the Rome Statute legal system, and within the framework of each preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor will engage with the national authorities concerned with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level.


In the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) will also give consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of each preliminary examination, strictly guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute. 

Should, at the conclusion of the preliminary examination process, the Prosecutor decides to proceed with an investigation, authorization from a Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court would be required. The Court's judges would then make an independent assessment as to whether the statutory criteria for the opening of an investigation are met.

The Office of the Prosecutor conducts a preliminary examination to decide whether there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation.


THE ICC’S PERMANENT premises, located at Oude Waalsdorperweg 10 2597 AK, The Hague, The Netherlands, is close to the North Sea and International Zone between “nature and city set in the rolling dune landscape of the edge of The Hague.” Its construction was funded by States Parties to the Rome Statute in the site made available free of charge by the host state (the Netherlands). It includes sculptural arrangement of six buildings that includes a central tower, which houses the ICC Courtrooms, and is closer to the ICC detention centre, which does not accept visitors from the public and the media. (© ICC-CPI)

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting  investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Gabon; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.

There are now 11 countries under investigation.

Out of the 40 cases so far tried by the ICC since July 1, 2002 when the Rome Statute came to force, 13 cases had been closed; 11 defendants are at large; three defendants are in custody; three are not in custody; seven were convicted and one was acquitted. (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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