President Marcos: We’re done with ICC

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos: We�re done with ICC
Building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot expect the Philippine government to cooperate with its investigation into the Duterte administration’s controversial war on drugs, President Marcos asserted yesterday.

Marcos said the government instead would continue to question the ICC’s jurisdiction to conduct the probe as the Philippines is no longer a member of the international court since 2019.

“Our engagements with the ICC are over. As we have been saying from the beginning, we will not cooperate with them in any way or form,” the President said partly in Filipino.

“So, we continue to defend the sovereignty of the Philippines and continue to question the jurisdiction of the ICC and their investigations here in the Philippines.”

Marcos made the remark after the ICC rejected on July 18 the Philippine government’s appeal not to proceed with its probe into the supposed thousands of killings and human rights abuses committed by authorities in connection with former president Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The ICC, he said, no longer has jurisdiction over the Philippines since it already cut ties with the tribunal on March 17, 2019, a year after Duterte ordered the Philippines’ termination of the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

“They are talking about Filipinos. Their alleged crimes are here in the Philippines, the victims are Filipino, why bring the investigation to The Hague? It should be done here. That’s it. We have no more appeals pending. We have no more actions being taken,” Marcos said.

“So, I suppose that puts an end to our dealings with the ICC,” the Chief Executive said.

Duterte cut ties with the ICC after former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda continued with the preliminary examination into his drug war.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra earlier said the engagement of the Philippines with the ICC has come to an end with the rendition of judgment by the ICC Appeals Chamber.

Guevarra said the Philippines would instead focus on its own investigation and prosecution of crimes related to the anti-drug campaign.

Philippines open to dialogue

The Philippines is still open for dialogue with the ICC but it will not let the tribunal interfere with the processes of the government, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said yesterday.

Remulla reiterated that the Philippines is ending all formal engagement with the ICC but should the court seek dialogue and a courtesy call with the government, the Philippines is still open, depending on the agenda.

“Principle of comity among nations. We don’t want to snub and be mean to other countries who want to dialogue with us. But interfering with our processes is not acceptable. If we’re just going to talk, we talk with other countries, there’s nothing wrong with that,” he added.

Remulla said the disengagement of the Philippines would not affect the image of the Philippines, especially as a country that is seeking more and wider alliances.

He also said the government will no longer pursue legal action in the ICC, particularly on the issue of jurisdiction.

For now, the government will have to discuss its move should ICC representatives enter the country for their probe.

“We should know who are the people who want to go here to interfere with us,” Remulla said.

PNP not deterred

The looming investigation by the ICC will not deter the Philippine National Police (PNP) from carrying out its mandate to eradicate illegal drugs in the country, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said on Thursday.

“I think nothing has changed much with our campaign on illegal drugs,” he said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News.

Acorda said they would defer to the executive branch if the ICC asks for their records on the war on drugs. ”We will be following the dictum of our executive department,” he said.

Under his leadership, Acorda gave assurance they are strictly observing human rights in conducting anti-drug operations. — Emmanuel Tupas, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Daphne Galvez


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