The Philippines will end its coordination with the International Criminal Court (ICC) following its junking of the country’s appeal to stop the investigation into the Duterte administration’s drug war, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said Thursday.
According to a “24 Oras” report by Saleema Refran, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra made the remarks after meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. where they agreed that the ICC Appeals Chamber (AC) will be the government’s last coordination with the international court.
Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla echoed Guevarra’s remarks and said: “Isyu lang yan ng complementarity at comity na kaya naman tayo nagsasabi nyan kasi disente tayong kausap. Nakikiusap tayong wag na tayong pakialaman. Hindi ibig sabihin nyan na pumapayag tayo sa kanilang pagsakop sa atin”.
(This is an issue of complementarity and comity and we’re saying this because we’re decent. We appealed to stop the probe but that doesn’t mean we will allow them to rule over us.)
At least 6,200 suspects were killed in police operations based on government records under the controversial war on drugs. Human rights groups, however, claimed the actual death toll could be from 12,000 to 30,000.
On Tuesday, judges in the AC earlier rejected the administration’s appeal against the probe into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under the war on drugs, effectively greenlighting the resumption of the probe.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2019 after the tribunal began a preliminary probe into his administration’s drug war, followed by the launch of a formal inquiry later that year. Marcos Jr. ruled out rejoining.
In 2021, the Supreme Court (SC) said the Philippines has the obligation to cooperate with the ICC despite its withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the international court.
“Even if it has deposited the instrument of withdrawal, it shall not be discharged from any criminal proceedings. Whatever process was already initiated before the International Criminal Court obliges the state party to cooperate,” the SC said in a ruling dated March 16.
“Consequently, liability for the alleged summary killings and other atrocities committed in the course of the war on drugs is not nullified or negated here. The Philippines remained covered and bound by the Rome Statute until March 17, 2019,” the SC said.–Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News