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ICC mum on drug probe, vows justice for victims

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
ICC mum on drug probe, vows justice for victims
In a statement sent to The STAR on Tuesday night, the ICC said its Office of the Prosecutor “is pursuing efforts to deliver justice to victims in the Philippines.”
ICJ / Released

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has declined to provide details about its investigation into the previous administration’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement sent to The STAR on Tuesday night, the ICC said its Office of the Prosecutor “is pursuing efforts to deliver justice to victims in the Philippines.”

The STAR tried to confirm earlier reports that ICC investigators have visited the Philippines and concluded the investigation.

“Protecting the confidentiality of our work is crucial, to ensure the safety of all those the Office interacts with and to protect the integrity of our operations,” read the statement.

Aside from the drug war, the ICC is also looking at killings allegedly committed by the so-called Davao death squad when former president Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, now Vice President Sara Duterte, were mayors of Davao City.

The investigation covers alleged crimes against humanity committed from 2011 to 2019, the period when the Philippines was a signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

The ICC said the efforts of the Office of the Prosecutor” are complementary to national efforts, and nothing about the ICC investigation should stop or hinder national criminal investigations and prosecution.”

“While pursuing its investigation, the Office will seek to engage and establish a dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including the Philippine government and civil society,” it said.

The ICC also declined to comment on the statements of government officials, including President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte.

Marcos on Tuesday said his government “will not lift a finger” to assist the ICC in its probe.

Earlier, he said the country’s rejoining the ICC was “under study.”

Legal, political mistake

Meanwhile, a lawyer for drug war victims said Marcos’ statement “sliding back to the position of non-cooperation… is both a legal and political mistake.”

“We reiterate that the ICC investigation has a strong legal basis, having been approved by the appeals chamber over the objection of the Philippine government. The government participated actively in the proceedings and lost,” Kristina Conti, ICC assistant to counsel, said.

Conti said the decision to pursue justice before an international court “is grounded on law and practical reasons,” noting that the government has failed to provide justice to the victims.

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