UN rights body to Philippines: Cooperate in ICC probe

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
UN rights body to Philippines: Cooperate in ICC probe
Building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines — The UN Human Rights Committee is urging the Philippines to cooperate in the investigation that may be conducted by the International Criminal Court on the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the course of the previous administration’s “war on drugs.”

In its 13-page advanced unedited report, the UN body composed of human rights experts said the Philippines should “strengthen its cooperation with the international human rights mechanisms as well as the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court.”

The panel noted that the Philippines continues to refuse to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms and the ICC probe, which has been suspended since last year at Manila’s request.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has since pushed for the resumption of the investigation as he argued that the Philippine government has failed to demonstrate that it has sufficiently investigated killings in police operations.

The Philippines, however, has asked the ICC’s pre-trial chamber to reject Khan’s request as it argued that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the alleged crimes committed were not grave enough to warrant its attention. Khan maintained that “none of those arguments have merit.”

Manila’s officials have also insisted that the complaints filed before the ICC are already being investigated by local agencies, which they said meant that the country “is neither unwilling nor unable to carry out these domestic proceedings.”

READ: In first 100 days in office, Marcos rejects hopes for Philippines rejoining ICC

But the UN human rights panel is not convinced either, with it raising concerns over reports that authorities continued to fail to promptly, effectively and independently investigate extrajudicial killings and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It also expressed concern over reports of “incitement to violence against and extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders by high-level officials, including the former president,” referring to Rodrigo Duterte.

Among the recommendations made by the UN committee is for the Philippines to “redouble its efforts to promptly, independently and thoroughly investigate all allegations of extrajudicial killings, bring perpetrators, including law enforcement officials, to justice.”

It also recommended that high-level Philippine officials refrain from inciting violence and extrajudicial killings.

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