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CHR says Marcos' decision not to rejoin ICC ‘unfortunate’

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it was "unfortunate" that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. decided not to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) respects the prerogative of the President in deciding not to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC)," CHR executive director Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.

"This move, however, is unfortunate when viewed from the human rights perspective given the calls from both domestic and international fronts seeking truth and accountability for the thousands of deaths allegedly linked to the previous administration’s campaign against illegal drugs," she added.

The CHR official said being part of the ICC would have shown a "strong mark" of the government's commitment to ensure "there will always be a remedy for human rights violations and in protection of present and future generations of Filipinos."

“Human rights, as well as the pursuit of truth and justice, will continue to be an international concern, as evidenced by the growing attention on current humanitarian crises, such as the Russian aggression against Ukraine,” she added.

On Monday, Marcos said that the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC.

The President made the statement a week after he discussed with members of his administration's legal team the ICC's investigation on the previous administration's deadly war on drugs.

GMA News Online sought the Palace response to the CHR statement, but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

In an order dated July 14, the ICC gave the Philippines until September 8, 2022 to provide any observations on the planned reopening of the probe.

The ICC also instructed the Victims Participation and Reparations Section to coordinate with victims and their legal representatives, and collect their views by September 8, 2022.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan in June said the Philippine government had not demonstrated that it investigated or was investigating its nationals or others in connection with the series of killings attributed to the anti-drug campaign.

In September 2021, the ICC opened the investigation on the request of then-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to probe crimes allegedly committed in Philippine territory between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called war on drugs.

But two months later, in November, the ICC suspended the probe at the request of the Philippine government as the Department of Justice conducted its investigation of several cases.

Then president Rodrigo Duterte had insisted that he would only face a Philippine court and if he should be imprisoned for the killings, it should be in the country's jails.

Malacañang also said it would be difficult for the ICC to “uncover the truth” as it insisted that the Philippine government would not cooperate in the investigation owing to the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, in 2019.—LDF, GMA News