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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte errs again in claiming he has pending case in UN court

For at least the second time, President Rodrigo Duterte wrongly claimed that there is a pending case against him before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to his bloody war against illegal drugs.

May 16, 2022

VERA Files

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For at least the second time, President Rodrigo Duterte wrongly claimed that there is a pending case against him before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to his bloody war against illegal drugs.

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The ICC was established in 1998 by the Rome Statute to investigate and try cases of the “gravest crimes of concern to the international community,” namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.

Under Article 18 of the Rome Statute, the court prosecutor’s deferral to a state’s investigation, in this case that of the Philippine government, “shall be open to review by the Prosecutor six months after the date of deferral or at any time when there has been a significant change of circumstances based on the State’s unwillingness or inability to genuinely carry out the investigation.”

This is not the first time Duterte made this blunder, having unloaded the same claim during a speech in May 2019. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte mistakes UN court for ICC)

The president, in February 2017, also mistakenly cited the ICJ as the judicial body that ruled on the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Which court ruled on the West Philippine Sea dispute?)

Editor’s note: This fact check was produced with the help of a communication student of the University of the Philippines Baguio as part of her internship at VERA Files.

 

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form.

 

Sources

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his attendance to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Cainta Campaign Rally, May 3, 2022

International Court of Justice, The Court, Accessed May 10, 2022

International Court of Justice, Frequently Asked Questions, Accessed May 10, 2022

International Criminal Court, Understanding the International Criminal Court, Accessed May 10, 2022

International Criminal Court, Republic of the Philippines, Accessed May 10, 2022

International Criminal Court, Situation in the Philippines: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I authorises the opening of an investigation, Sept. 15, 2021

International Criminal Court, Republic of the Philippines Deferral Request, Nov. 18, 2021

International Criminal Court, ICC Prosecutor, Mr Karim A.A. Khan QC, notifies Pre-Trial Chamber I of a request from the Republic of the Philippines to defer his investigation under article 18(2) of the Rome Statute, Nov. 23, 2021

 

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

 

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