Filipinos, including a former cabinet minister, have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague against China’s development of islands in the disputed South China Sea.
Albert del Rosario was foreign affairs secretary during the administration of Benigno Aquino. He now leads an international affairs research institute based in the Philippines.
del Rosario argues that China’s construction projects on the islands have caused nearly irreversible environmental destruction by destroyed reefs that provide biodiversity.
He argues that China’s actions have had a serious impact on the residents of the Philippines and other countries who rely marine resources for their livelihoods.
He has asked the tribunal to hold three Chinese leaders accountable for crimes against humanity. They are President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua.
In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal rejected China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, but China’s development of islands has continued.
At a news conference on Friday, del Rosario said the situation in the South China Sea has not changed, even after the ruling by the arbitration tribunal.