Palace: ICC cannot demand records from Phl for preliminary examination

In a statement earlier this month, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stressed the examination would be done with "full independence and impartiality in accordance with its mandate and the applicable legal instruments of the court." AP, file

Palace: ICC cannot demand records from Phl for preliminary examination
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 18, 2018 - 5:20pm
MANILA, Philippines – The International Criminal Court cannot compel the Philippine government to provide documents on its war on illegal drugs because there is no formal investigation on it yet, Malacañang said Sunday. 
 
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the ICC has announced that it would conduct a preliminary examination on the anti-drug crackdown, a process that he said may take years. 
 
"First, the (ICC) prosecutor has no power yet to ask us to provide any document because there is no investigation yet. It is just a preliminary examination. There is no case yet," Roque told radio station dzMM.  
 
"It only means that the prosecutor is studying whether to conduct a preliminary investigation. And based on the experience of other countries, Colombia, it took 13 years before the preliminary examination is completed," he added. 
 
Earlier this month, the ICC announced that it would begin its preliminary examination on the killings linked to President Duterte's campaign against narcotics, which has left more than 3,000 people dead since it was launched in 2016. 
 
The preliminary examination stemmed from a communication sent by Jude Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a member of a death squad organized by Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City. 
 
Sabio has tagged Duterte in the deaths of about 1,400 people in Davao City and 7,000 suspected drug offenders nationwide.  
 
The Commission on Human Rights has expressed readiness to cooperate with the ICC on the preliminary examination.
 
The Philippine National Police has also expressed willingness to cooperate with the international court but clarified that it would not disclose tactical information that may endanger the lives of law enforcers. 
 
Duterte's political rivals claim that the preliminary examination is a step closer to achieving justice for victims of summary executions. Malacañang downplayed the 
development, saying the complaint would not go beyond preliminary examination because the war on illegal drugs is a legitimate police operation and not a crime against humanity. 
 
Duterte has expressed readiness to face a death sentence for launching his brutal crackdown on narcotics as he stressed that the campaign would not stop until the end of his term. 
 
He has also vowed to take full responsibility for the consequences of his war on illegal drugs, a problem that he claims has affected more than four million Filipinos. 

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