CHR: New ICC bid for drug war probe chance to show high-level human rights commitment of PH

The Commission on Human Rights on Saturday called on the Marcos administration to view the International Criminal Court’s decision to authorize the reopening of probe into Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs as an opportunity to demonstrate a high-level commitment to human rights.

“In the interest of justice and accountability, the CHR urges the Government of the Philippines to view the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decision as an opportunity to fulfil President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s earlier commitment in ensuring a ‘high-level of accountability’ for human rights issues and violations during his term,” the CHR said in a statement.

In an earlier statement, the ICC said that it authorized the reopening of a probe into the Duterte administration’s anti-drugs campaign saying it is “not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court’s investigations.”

“Let this development be a chance for the Philippines to demonstrate openness and transparency as part of the fraternity of nations that values human rights and the rule of law,” the CHR said.

“As the independent national human rights institution of the Philippines, CHR extends its openness and willingness to assist the present administration in upholding the rights and dignity of all,” it added.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said earlier that the country would appeal the resumption of the inquiry before the ICC Appeals Chamber.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla described the ICC’s decision as unwelcome and an irritant.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019 during the Duterte administration.

Marcos, for his part, said that the country had “no intention” of rejoining the ICC.

However, the CHR said that the ICC investigation is “an opportune occasion for the present government to take the right track in upholding its human rights obligations, especially for those wronged and [whose rights are] violated.”

It added that it has since shared its recommendations to the Philippine government through its “2022 CHR Report on Investigated Killings in relation to the Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign.”

At the same time, the CHR said it acknowledges that there are present efforts being done by the current administration in improving the human rights situation in the country. –LBG, GMA Integrated News

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