Duterte admin removes symbol of sex slavery under Imperial Japan; Remember Vinuya v. Romulo?


Philippine Star: A backhoe scoops earth from the spot where a statue of a "Comfort Woman" or Filipino sex slave during WWII was erected alongside Manila Bay. (AP photos) https://bit.ly/2KjnnAS

We fully agree that rape, sexual slavery, torture, and sexual violence are morally reprehensible as well as legally prohibited under contemporary international law. However, petitioners take quite a theoretical leap in claiming that these proscriptions automatically imply that that the Philippines is under a non-derogable obligation to prosecute international crimes, particularly since petitioners do not demand the imputation of individual criminal liability, but seek to recover monetary reparations from the state of Japan. Absent the consent of states, an applicable treaty regime, or a directive by the Security Council, there is no non-derogable duty to institute proceedings against Japan. Indeed, precisely because of states reluctance to directly prosecute claims against another state, recent developments support the modern trend to empower individuals to directly participate in suits against perpetrators of international crimes. Nonetheless, notwithstanding an array of General Assembly resolutions calling for the prosecution of crimes against humanity and the strong policy arguments warranting such a rule, the practice of states does not yet support the present existence of an obligation to prosecute international crimes. Of course a customary duty of prosecution is ideal, but we cannot find enough evidence to reasonably assert its existence. To the extent that any state practice in this area is widespread, it is in the practice of granting amnesties, immunity, selective prosecution, or de facto impunity to those who commit crimes against humanity. (Vinuya v. Romulo; G.R. No. 162230)

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