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Carpio joins ex-Philippine officials in move to send Xi Jinping, others to jail for crimes against humanity

September 16, 2020

Former top Philippine officials have vowed to send to jail Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials for "unlawful" activities in the South China Sea as they tapped retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to defend the case before the International Criminal Court.

In a virtual forum on Wednesday, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed belief that Carpio's participation will boost the communication that he and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed before the ICC Office of the Prosecutor against the Chinese officials.

"Justice Carpio's unparalleled wisdom and expertise in the South China Sea issue have raised our confidence in the case and will surely bolster our chances in the ICC," he said.

Carpio had helped the Philippine government during the Aquino administration in filing an arbitration case against China. Del Rosario was then the Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary that time. The UN Arbitral Tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China's historic and sovereign claim over the South China Sea through its nine-dash line theory.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda junked last year the former Philippine officials' case against China for having no jurisdiction.

But according to Morales, the ICC Prosecutor may reconsider the case amid the new facts and information that they have submitted on September 15.

In their latest submission, she said they have addressed the jurisdictional issue.

"In our response, we demonstrated that the crimes of humanity committed by President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials occurred not only in the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) of the Philippines, but also in its territorial sea and the coast of Luzon," Del Rosario said.

He noted that the destructive reclamation and island-building undertaken by Chinese officials in the Spratlys occurred in Subi Reef, which is within the territorial sea of Pag-asa.

"Pag-asa is Philippine territory with a permanent community of Filipinos and is controlled and administered by the Philippines," the former DFA official said.

He also cited that the Chinese officials continue to enforce its blockade within the territorial sea of Scarborough Shoal preventing Filipino fishermen from pursuing their livelihood.

Del Rosario also noted the ramming incident perpetrated by Chinese fishing vessel in Reed Bank, almost killing 22 fishermen, who were rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.

In the latest submission to the ICC Prosecutor, Del Rosario and Morales also included senior executives of China Communications Construction Company and its subsidiaries for undertaking the destructive reclamation and artificial island-building in the South China Sea.

The United States recently banned officials of the CCCC and its subsidiaries in entering its territory for their involvement in the reclamation activities in the disputed waters.

Both Del Rosario and Morales expressed belief that they have a strong case against Xi and other Chinese officials.

"This is a continuing case," Morales said.

"The end purpose of our ICC case is to hold President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials criminally liable and be penalized pursuant to the ICC Statute," Del Rosario said.

He said if their case prospers, warrants of arrest may be issued against the individuals they named in the complaint.

"This effectively prevents persons like Xi Jinping and Wang Yi from travelling to ICC State Parties like a number of European countries, Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea because such countries will be obligated by the ICC Statute to enforce the arrest warrants against them," he added.

The two former Philippine officials urged the neighbors in South China Sea who are also aggrieved by China's actions to submit similar communications with the ICC to make Chinese officials accountable for their atrocities.

Morales expressed hope that the Philippine government, if not the Duterte administration, at least the next administration, will support their move.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been very friendly to China despite the latter's activities in the South China Sea, including those areas within the 200-nautical miles exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Celerina Monte/DMS