International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan on Thursday said his investigation into the bloody drug war in the Philippines would uncover the truth and ensure accountability among those involved in human rights abuses.
In a statement issued at the ICC website, Khan said his office would depending on the cooperation of states, civil societies and their other partners in the probe.
President Rodrigo Duterte and Malacanang have indicated that the national government did not recognize the ICC investigation.
"My investigation will seek to uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability," Khan said.
"We will focus our efforts on ensuring a successful, independent and impartial investigation," he added.
Khan said his investigation aimed to bring justice to the victims and affected communities, and counted "on the support and cooperation of States Parties, civil society and other partners."
Despite Malacañang's statement that it won't cooperate with the ICC probe, Khan said his office was willing to "engage" with Philippine authorities in the probe.
"As we undertake this necessary work, I remain willing to constructively engage with national authorities in accordance with the principle of complementarity and our obligations under the Statute," Khan said.
"I equally look forward to exploring opportunities for greater engagement and dialogue between my Office and the Asia-Pacific region," he added.
Khan's predecessor Fatou Bensouda had requested the ICC to conduct a probe into the crimes committed in the Philippines between Nov. 1, 2011 in the context of the anti-drug campaign under the Duterte.
The ICC granted Bensouda's request, adding that it would also probe the killings in Davao area between November 2011 to June 2016.
According to Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque, Duterte would rather die than face the ICC's investigation.
He said that the ICC had no jurisdiction over the country because the Philippines withdrew in 2019 from the Rome Statute, which established the international court.
Khan said his office would probe the crimes that occurred before Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
"While the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect on 17 March 2019, the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed my Office's position that the Court retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019," Khan said.
Duterte has said he would prepare for his defense for the ICC's investigation into his campaign against narcotics, which killed thousands of drug suspects. -NB, GMA News