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Monday, December 11, 2023

Philippines will not participate in ICC’s probe into war on drugs: official


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Manila: The Philippines will not participate in the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to proceed with the investigation into former president Rodrigo Duterte administration’s war on drugs, Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Wednesday.

“The Philippine government will not talk or deal with the ICC. We don’t need them or want them to come here,” Remulla told a press conference held in Manila, adding ICC’s decision is “a usurpation of the authority of the Philippine government.”

Remulla was reacting to the ICC’s decision on Tuesday to continue its probe into the anti-drug campaign after the Appeals Chamber of the Court rejected the plea of the Philippine government against the resumption of the investigation.

Remulla said that the ICC will violate the Philippine law and the legal system should they visit the country, vowing to advise the Office of Solicitor General (OSG), the legal defender of the government, to stop dealing with the ICC.

According to Philippine government data, more than 6,000 people were killed in the war on drugs that Duterte launched after he took office in 2016.

Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chairman Francis Tolentino also reaffirmed the legislature’s opposition to ICC’s decision.

“Once again, the denial of the appeal does not grant the ICC the jurisdiction,” he said in a statement, adding the decision “highlights ICC’s persistent disregard for Philippine sovereignty.”

In November 2021, the ICC stopped its probe into the war on drugs at the request of the Duterte administration. This January, the court’s pre-trial chamber authorized the resumption of the investigation.

In February, the current Marcos administration appealed to suspend the ruling and reverse the decision, insisting that the international court has no jurisdiction over the country.

The Philippines has officially withdrawn from the ICC in 2019. But the court said it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, saying the Philippines was still a state party to the Rome Statute during its war on drugs.

“We will not allow the ICC to come here and investigate; no conditions. Respect our sovereignty or else,” Remulla added.


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