Palace said Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) drug war investigation until the end of his term in 2022.
“This is now a political issue. Hinding-hindi magko-cooperate ang Presidente hanggang tapos ng kaniyang termino sa June 30, 2022,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque further stressed that the ICC no longer has the right to investigate, especially since the Philippines withdrew in 2019.
According to Bensouda, although the Philippines’ exit from the Rome Statute was effective on March 17, 2019, the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes that allegedly took place in the country when it was still under court jurisdiction.
Roque added that the system exists in the Philippines to hold those guilty of murder accountable, so the ICC should not delve into the issue.
“Lahat po ng mga kaso kung saan may namatay in the course of a police operation ay iimbestigahan. Hindi po natin kinailangan ang mga dayuhan na mag-imbestiga… dahil gumagana po ang sistemang legal sa Pilipinas,” said Roque.
Duterte will not cooperate on ICC’s drug war probe: Roque
But for many rights groups, the ICC probe is a step towards achieving justice for those brutally killed in the government’s war on drugs.
On the eve of the end of his term, outgoing International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda shocked Filipinos when he announced Monday night (in the Philippines) that he was seeking permission to investigate the war on drugs in the Philippines.
“Today, I announce that the preliminary examination into the situation in the Republic of the Philippines has concluded and that I have requested judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation,” said Bensouda.
She said that in her initial exposure to the drug war issue, she obtained enough evidence to believe that the accusation that there was a crime against humanity of murder in the Philippines from July 2016 to March 2019 was well-founded.
Bensouda wants to give her office the authority of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to conduct a more thorough investigation.