Philippines slams UN’s Khmer Rouge warning as ‘irresponsible’
THE Philippines criticised yesterday as “irresponsible and alarming” a UN envoy’s warning that life sentences meted out to two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders should serve as a warning to Manila over human rights abuses.
Last week, a United Nations backed court in Cambodia upheld life sentences for crimes against humanity for two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the death of up to 2 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979.
David Scheffer, the UN SecretaryGeneral’s envoy to the tribunal, said leaders in countries such as the Philippines, as well as the Islamic State (IS), must “take note” of the verdict.
“Mr Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system,” the Philippine foreign ministry said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, 71, has drawn a wave of international criticism for his drug war that has left more than 4800 people dead.
The UN, the United States and the European Union have warned against alleged extrajudicial killings and a breakdown in the rule of law. Mr Duterte won May elections by a landslide after vowing to kill 100,000 criminals and rid the country of illegal drugs in six months.
Since he took office in June, 1900 have died in police operations and another 2900 were killed in unexplained circumstances, according to official figures.
After the verdict in Cambodia last week, Mr Scheffer said the decision showed world leaders can be held accountable for atrocities.
Mr Duterte has been defiant following global criticism of his drug war and on November 28 continued his verbal assault on critics.
He has threatened to follow in Russia’s footsteps and pull his country out of the International Criminal Court, the world’s only permanent war crimes court, in fury at foreign criticism of his deadly drug war.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor said last month she was “deeply concerned” about the Philippine killings.
“Do not believe those European lawyers. They are all stupid, believe me,” Mr Duterte he said, adding they had brains “just like a pea”.
He added, “You threaten me that you will jail me? International Criminal Court, bullshit.” –
Rodrigo Duterte stands defiant against international criticism.