Friday, March 06, 2009

A sitting President can be arrested

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has a new reason to be nervous -- sitting presidents are not immune from arrests for committing criminal offenses. This is the legal milestone set by the International Criminal Court (ICC) when it ordered the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in a concerted government campaign against civilians.

International Herald Tribune reports:

The criminal court judges took more than seven months to examine the evidence on Bashir before charging him with five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. The two counts of war crimes were for attacks against a civilian population and for pillaging.

In their statement, the judges said the court did not recognize immunity for a head of state and called for the cooperation of all countries - not just the 108 nations that are members of the court - to bring Bashir to justice.

Under the rules of the UN charter and Security Council, Sudan is legally obliged to arrest Bashir, the judges said - but that appears unlikely. The court has no police force or military of its own, and the 24,000 or so UN peacekeepers operating in Sudan have no mandate to detain war crimes suspects.

If this is the case, and human rights groups are able to substantiate the claims against Gloria Arroyo for human rights violations and for suppression of press freedom, then she might find her feet treading the path to jail.

Yun nga lang, medyo malabo na. First, elections are near, barely one year. Kung hindi siya ma-impeach, hindi na rin siya presidente in case ICC issues a warrant of arrest against her. Second, Lorelei Fajardo will surely fire verbal ammunitions against ICC calling the act the work of opposition and the issuance of the warrant of arrest politically motivated. (Un)Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales will also let loose his unbridled tongue to delay the proceedings while FG Mike Arroyo will gather another crowd in EDSA to be airlifted to The Hague to show protests.

Pero sabi, ang protests na gagawin ni FG ay pagtutol sa proceedings ng ICC regarding the criminal cases of his wife. Ang gusto niya daw kasi na talakayin ng ICC ay annulment case dahil wala na rin siyang pakinabang sa asawa niya kung mawawala na ito sa pagiging presidente. Isa pa, wala nga daw na nagawa si Gloria sa ZTE-broadband issue eh pumayag na nga siya na pumunta si Gloria sa Boao kahit pa nasa emergency room siya at may sakit.

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