MANILA – A maritime expert believes there is already a precedent for the International Criminal Court to investigate Chinese officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, for crimes against humanity in the western Philippine Sea.
Professor Jay Batongbacal, director of the Institute for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea at the University of the Philippines, said there is already a precedent in which a person accused of crimes against humanity has been placed under ICC investigation.
He said the ICC can exercise jurisdiction “over the persons, if not the official”.
“There has been a precedent where at least one person accused of crimes against humanity has come under an ICC investigation. It is possible that the petitioners here are attempting to use this as a precedent to try to build the case over which the ICC can still exercise jurisdiction. people, at least if not the official. People will not be considered as an interim civil servant but as an international criminal, ”he told the ANC.
He said it is possible that the ICC is considering the communication after his prosecutor has “shown interest”.
Retired Supreme Court Judge Antonio Carpio joined the communication filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Beijing officials for alleged “crimes against humanity” in the Western Philippine Sea.
The Philippine group is about to file its response with the ICC, which questioned the reasons why the acts of Chinese officials fall under its jurisdiction when Beijing is not a member state of the international body.
The case has “real legal issues” but will not gain support from other nations if the Philippines itself does not support it, Batongbacal said.
The Duterte administration, although it initiated the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, can still join the petition, he added.
The current communication falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC as it details the alleged crimes of Chinese officials in the West Philippine Sea when Manila was still a member of the international forum.
“It would also be a serious problem of credibility … but we know that credibility is not exactly something that deters this administration,” Batongbacal said.
The next administration can also “follow up” on the ICC communication despite the inaction of the current government, he added.
“Since China has continued to carry out some of these activities, in particular destructive fishing activities, another case could possibly be formulated to try to continue on this particular point and get China to stop these illegal activities,” he said. -he says.
“A subsequent administration might argue that the time passed was simply a way for the Philippines to try to explore ways to get China to voluntarily comply with the arbitration decision.”
China will not act on communication at an “official or formal level” but may change its behavior somewhat, Batongbacal said.
“It goes against their best interests, especially this Chinese dream of national rejuvenation where they see themselves as a world leader by 2050. Even if they ignore it, I think they will change with a one way or another their behavior in order to avoid further accusations of being a rogue state and seen as an untrustworthy member of the international community. “
ANC, Questions of Fact, Jay Batongbacal, China, ICC, International Criminal Court, West Philippine Sea, South China Sea, Maritime Dispute
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