Marcos: Philippines to disengage from communication with ICC

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Marcos: Philippines to disengage from communication with ICC
In this photograph taken on October 3, 2017, police personnel surround the body of an alleged drug user killed in Manila. Philippine police have shot dead 13 suspects in a drug crackdown, the government said March 22 after President Rodrigo Duterte defied allegations of crimes against humanity by announcing plans to take his country out of the International Criminal Court.
AFP / Noel Celis, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will be "disengaging" from the International Criminal Court after its Appeals Chamber denied Manila's request to suspend probe as it resolves its appeal to drop the investigation into the previous administration’s “war on drugs," President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said.

Marcos on Tuesday repeated an earlier statement that the country cannot work with the ICC “considering the very serious questions about their jurisdiction and about what we consider to be interference and attacks on the sovereignty of the Republic.” 

“The appeal has failed and in our view, there’s nothing more that we can do in the government and so at this point, we are essentially disengaging from any contact, from any communication with the ICC,” Marcos Jr. told reporters at the sidelines of the Pag-IBIG Fund’s Chairman’s report.

Despite the Philippines’ departure from the ICC in 2018, which took effect in 2019, Manila still has obligations under the provisions of the Rome Statute. The ICC still has jurisdiction over the crimes committed when the Philippines was still a member of the court. 

FACT CHECK: Philippines has obligations despite leaving ICC in 2019

Denied appeal

According to the ICC Appeals Chamber, Manila did not explain how its claim of the ICC lacking jurisdiction over the country or the absence of legal basis for the resumption of Khan’s investigation would “defeat its very purpose and create an irreversible situation that could not be corrected.”

The Philippines also did not elaborate what the “far-reaching and inimical consequences” of the probe will have on the stakeholders. 

READ: ICC Appeals Chamber denies Philippine request to suspend ‘drug war’ probe

“We have no longer any recourse when it comes to the ICC,” Marcos Jr. said. 

The Philippines' appeal on the resumption of the probe however remains pending, as confirmed by Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra. Only Manila's request for "suspensive effect" was denied.

“The decision of the ICC Pre-trial Chamber authorizing the ICC prosecutor to proceed with his investigation is still on appeal with the Appeals Chamber,” Guevarra separately on Tuesday in an interview with CNN Philippines. “We do not know when this appeal will be resolved, maybe in a few months, maybe in a few years.”

Domestic investigation still concerning

Lawyer Kristina Conti, assisting counsel for victims of the "war on drugs,” said that the domestic investigations of the Philippine government remains a concern since these are not “transparent, comprehensive, and conducive enough to earn the victims’ trust.” 

One of the Philippines’ arguments against the ICC probe is that the Department of Justice and other agencies are already conducting their own investigation into the killings. 

RELATED: PNP: Internal investigation, DOJ review enough for 'drug war' accountability

However, Conti, also National Union of Peoples' Lawyers-National Capital Region secretary-general, said the decision of the ICC Appeals Chamber “reassure” the victims of the bloody “drug war” and hopes that all the victims would be able to participate in the proceedings. 

“So far, the ICC proceedings [are] on track and aligned with our search for genuine justice for the victims of grave rights violations,” Conti said. — with reports from Kristine Joy Patag and Xave Gregorio 

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