American born UN official Diego Garcia-Sayan has come to the Philippines with the specific intention of meddling in the country’s sovereign affairs. Garcia-Sayan has recently complained of the dismissal of notoriously corrupt former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Forgetting the fact that Sereno’s predecessor Renato Corona was removed from his position due to a public pressure campaign from former President Noynoy Aquino, Garcia-Sayan blamed Sereno’s ouster directly on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, even though it was Sereno’s fellow Supreme Court justices that voted to oust her from the highest court in The Philippines.
Garcia-Sayan’s attempts to disrupt the process of domestic jurisprudence and governance is a further symptom of the fact that many if not most super-national organisations of the so-called “international community” have been reduced to little more neo-colonial instruments designed to prolong and enforce what Duterte correctly calls “the colonial mentality”.
The UN for example has united to pass sanctions on countless developing nations but remains paralysed by the persistent US veto in any efforts to resolve the crucial conflicts in the Middle East, notably the “Israel”-Palestine conflict. While China has created a successful model designed to lift nations out of poverty, the UN has been involved in scandals throughout the developing world involving the exploitation of resources and of individual human beings. This includes the mass rap of thousands of adults and children in nations that UN aid workers are supposed to be assisting.
The International Criminal Court whose jurisdiction Duterte has withdrawn The Philippines from, is not only a global laughing stock but a de-facto racist one at that. The deeply politicised International Criminal Court, of which none of the three global superpowers (China, Russia, US) are members, has long been associated with the prosecution and persecution of African leaders. In fact 90% of all defendants brought before the ICC have been Africans. In 2016, the Gambia, South Africa and Burundi announced their intention to withdraw from the court, but later changed their decision in the face of international pressure. In South Africa, the issue is particularly sensitive as in spite of the clearly anti-African bias of the ICC, South Africa has tended towards a commitment to international organisations, no matter how ineffective, owing to the spirit of reconciliation which formed the basis of Nelson Mandela’s post Apartheid government.
But the unjust double standards of the ICC which has seen African leaders sitting before a court, deprived of any dignity, while countries with larger militaries, vastly more weapons and a track record of large scale international war crimes have never been brought before the ICC, leaves the Court’s reputation in tatters.
Few Asian states are members of the ICC. Once The Philippines leaves, only Cambodia, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, South Korea, Mongolia and Japan will remain as full members. In terms of ASEAN, once The Philippines leaves, Cambodia will remain the only ASEAN member to remain a full member of the ICC.
For Africa though, the ICC’s clutches have been difficult to escape and far from escaping justice being an advisable position, the ludicrous way in which the ICC began a preliminary investigation into Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is demonstrative of the kind of unfair treatment than African states and leaders have suffered at the hands of an ICC which is more of a neo-colonial circus than anything resembling an attempt to bring actual war criminals to justice.
Since exiting from the ICC’s shambolic jurisdiction, Duterte has directly called for countries throughout the world to follow Manila and remove their nations from ICC treaty jurisdiction. During a recent speech, Duterte stated,
“I will convince everybody now under the treaty to get out, get out. It is not a document (the ICC treaty) that was prepared by anybody, it’s EU-sponsored”.
Duterte is absolutely correct in describing the court as Eurocentric in its approach to justice as well as systematic targeting of African leaders. Duterte has further stood up to the dealings of the United States, Canada and European Union, famously ending various trade and weapons deals with each entity because such transactions come with “strings attached”. By contrast, Duterte has found that in dealing with China and Russia, The Philippines is treated with respect while bilateral agreements with the main Asian superpowers remain honest and straightforward.
Thus, when Duterte recently admonished UN official Diego Garcia-Sayan for meddling in the sovereign affairs of his nation, Duterte was standing up not only for the national sovereignty of The Philippines but for all of the developing world. Duterte said of Garcia-Sayan,
“Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell. He is not a special person and I do not recognise his rapporteur title”.
In times when the old colonial powers have not shifted their devious designs on the developing world but have merely replaced national institutions of exploitation with international institutions, it becomes necessary for every dignified leader of a developing nation to stand up for his or her nation with the utmost clarity, pride and forcefulness. This is what Duterte has done in telling an individual who represents a corrupt international system to “go to hell”.