The International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed the complaint filed by former Philippine officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials over the alleged crimes against humanity they committed in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS or South China Sea).
In the report on its preliminary activities for 2019 released on Thursday, the court said it sacks personal jurisdiction or territorial jurisdiction over the communication lodged by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario on March 13, saying China is not a state party to the Rome Statute.
Citing international law, the ICC noted that maritime zones beyond territorial sea such as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf are not considered to comprise part of a State’s territory.
[T]he office has concluded that a state’s EEZ [and continental shelf] cannot be considered to comprise part of its territory for the purpose of article 12(2)(a) of the Statute, the report noted.
It said under the Rome Statute, it could take action only if the territory of which the conduct in question occurred is a State Party to the Statute, or if the crime was committed on board a vessel or aircraft registered in a State Party.
In the present situation, the conduct alleged in the communication received did not occur in the territory of the Philippines, but rather in areas outside its territory, purportedly in its EEZ and continental shelf, it said.
The alleged crimes also were not committed on board vessels registered in a State Party, it added.
Accordingly, the office concluded that the crimes allegedly committed do not fall within the territorial or otherwise personal jurisdiction of the court, the report said.
Morales and del Rosario filed the complaint in behalf of Filipino fishermen, whose boat was reportedly rammed and sunk by a Chinese ship in the WPS last June. The two accused Xi and other Chinese officials of 揷committing crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
They said Beijing’s attempt to control the disputed sea constituted the crimes against humanity.