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Palace insists ICC probe on Duterte’s war on drugs won’t prosper

Malacañang on Wednesday maintained the International Criminal Court's (ICC) inquiry on the alleged state-sanctioned killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs will not prosper for lack of jurisdiction.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte said on Tuesday night that "not in a million years" the ICC would it have jurisdiction to conduct a full-blown investigation into the allegations forwarded by lawyer Jude Sabio.

Last month, the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor announced that it would begin its preliminary examination on the alleged extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, which kicked off on July 1, 2016.

The preliminary examination is a procedure conducted by the ICC to determine whether the case falls under its jurisdiction.

Admissibility of case

A former professor of international law, Roque said that in order to exercise jurisdiction, the ICC has to establish the admissibility of the case, consider interest of justice, and the principle of complementarity should be implemented.

This means that the ICC can only investigate criminal cases if the domestic courts are unable or unwilling to do so, which Roque said does not apply to the Philippines' situation.

"Hindi po mangyayari ‘yan sa Pilipinas dahil alam natin na iyong inability ay mayroon lang ‘yan kung hindi gumagana at all ang mga hukuman. Eh bukas naman po ang mga hukuman ng Pilipinas, so wala pong inability at wala rin pong unwillingness. Kasi wala po tayong immunity for life sa mga presidente," Roque told reporters in Palawan.

"Ang immunity ay para lamang sa presidente habang siya’y nakaupo bilang presidente, at napatunayan na natin sa dalawang presidente natin na matapos ang kanilang termino eh napapakulong sila. So ‘yan po ang ibig sabihin ng Presidente, because of complementarity the court will never have jurisdiction over his person," he added.

Roque also said the alleged deaths attributed to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs were because of lawful police operations, thus these could not be regarded as attacks against civilians. — RSJ, GMA News