Duterte slams proposed ICC probe anew

Maris Federez   •   June 22, 2021   •   410

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on June 21, 2021. JOEY DALUMPINES/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte once again stressed his stance against the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“Why would I defend or face an accusation before white people? You must be crazy. Mga colonizers ito noon (They were colonizers in the past) and they have not atoned for their sins against the countries that they invaded, including the Philippines,” Duterte said.

The president maintained that he will just face a Philippine court in front of a Filipino judge.

“They are trying to set up a court outside our country and making us liable to face them. Our laws are different. Our criminal procedure is different. How are you supposed to get justice there?” the President said. “I will readily face a court, being accused in a Philippine court before a Filipino judge.”

Duterte made this statement after Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año reported during a pre-taped meeting with the president the status of the government’s anti-illegal drug operations.

In his report, Año enumerated the arrests made by authorities which include high-profile individuals and the number of those killed during their operations.

This, the President said, is what the ICC does not understand.

“If you do not move against them, it will destroy our country. Narco-politics ito eh,” Duterte said, adding that such has been eradicated after several mayors were killed during anti-drug operations.

“We’re not saying that we are killing them. We kill them because they fight back,” he said.

Last June 15, outgoing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested that the court conduct an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Duterte administration in its war on drugs. —/mbmf

Philippines won’t cooperate with ICC probe, Palace maintains

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday maintained that the Philippine government will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and its decision to authorize an investigation into the killings under the government’s war on drugs is interference into the country’s domestic affairs.

He also stressed that the country has already withdrawn from the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the ICC.

In March 2019, the Philippines effectively withdrew from the Rome Statute after Duterte cancelled the country’s membership of the ICC’s founding treaty.

Under the ICC’s withdrawal mechanism, the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the membership period of a state.

The ICC on Wednesday said that its Pre-Trial Chamber 1 has granted then Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to formally conduct a full investigation into the Philippines’ drug war.

Bensouda previously argued that there is a reasonable basis to believe that murder has been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 in the context of the state policy.

But Panelo said the ICC can only conduct an investigation if the state’s judicial system is no longer functional, which is not the case in the Philippines.

It must also be proven that the state is unwilling to prosecute suspects in order for the ICC to launch a probe.

Panelo said ICC probers will not be allowed to enter the Philippines. He also believes that the investigation was politically motivated.

DOJ: Duterte has ‘proper legal defenses’ should ICC probe drug war

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) assured that President Rodrigo Duterte has the “proper legal defenses” should the International Criminal Court (ICC) decide to conduct an investigation on the national government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, only Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is authorized to speak about ICC matters. The DOJ secretary said the president will lay out the legal defenses in proper time.

“I guess should things come to the point the president may have to answer or be investigated formally by the ICC, I think he has the proper legal defenses available and will invoke of these legal defenses in the proper time,” he said.

The ICC prosecutor previously requested for an investigation into the drug war-related killings and human rights violations.

Duterte had said that the ICC has no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation. The Philippines officially withdrew from the ICC in March 2019. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Eleazar: PNP respects victims’ families seeking probe into drug war

Robie de Guzman   •   August 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday said they respect the decision of the supposed victims’ families to seek the help of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Eleazar issued the statement in response to an ICC registry report, which stated that 94% of the drug war victims want the ICC to look into the government’s alleged crimes against humanity amid the drug war.

“Karapatan ng bawat isa sa atin na idulog ang ating hinaing kung saan natin inaakalang matutugunan ito. So we respect the decision of the families of persons killed in anti-illegal drug operations in seeking an International Criminal Court investigation,” the PNP chief said.

Eleazar, however, maintained that the Philippine justice system works and that domestic remedies are working for those who seek investigation into the government’s efforts to eradicate the narcotics trade.

“Proof of this is the conviction of the policemen for the killing of Kian delos Santos and several other court decisions which have caused the dismissal and imprisonment of other PNP personnel,” he said.

He also assured that killings related to the drug war are already being investigated by the Department of Justice with the cooperation of the police.

Eleazar added that the PNP has implemented necessary measures to further promote transparency and accountability such as the procurement of body-worn cameras and aggressive internal cleansing in the police organization.

“We already made several initiatives to prove that the PNP has no policy of allowing and tolerating all forms of human rights abuses in the conduct of our operations,” Eleazar said.

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