Philippines to appeal ICC’s resumption of drug war probe before Appeals Chamber
The Philippine government intends to appeal the resumption of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) inquiry into the drug war before the ICC Appeals Chamber, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said Friday.
This comes after the ICC authorized the reopening of the inquiry, saying its pre-trial chamber “is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court's investigations.”
“While we have not received an official copy of this resolution, it is our intention to exhaust our legal remedies, more particularly elevating the matter to the ICC appeals chamber,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
“We wish to emphasize that our own domestic investigative and judicial processes should take precedence, and we can show that despite structural and resource limitations in our legal system, it is still a well-functioning system that yields positive results in its own time,” he added.
According to the ICC, the Appeals Chamber may reverse or amend the decision on conviction or sentence and may order a new trial before a different Trial Chamber.
The government previously asked the ICC not to resume its investigation into the drug war, insisting that the international tribunal has no jurisdiction over it.
Guevarra had also previously said the ICC has jurisdiction over certain crimes only, such as genocide, crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the national police chief during the height of the drug war, questioned the ICC’s motive in pushing through with its investigation.
Interviewed on GMA News’ Unang Balita, Dela Rosa said there seems to be an “agenda” behind the continuous push for the investigation.
“May motive behind ito. May ibang agenda kung bakit insisting. Merong nagtutulak sa kanila na mag-imbestiga. Baka gustong ibalik ang problema ng droga sa bansa,” he said.
(There is a motive behind this. They have a different agenda behind their insistence. Someone is pushing them to investigate. Probably they want the drug problem to be back in the country.)
“Hindi nga sila pinapapasok dito para mag-conduct ng imbestigasyon. Go ahead kung anong gusto nilang gawin. Nakakasawa na,” he added.
(The government did not even allow them to enter the country to conduct an investigation. Go ahead with what they want to do. I am already sick and tired of it.)
Government records showed that at least 6,200 drug suspects have been killed in police operations from June 2016 until November 2021. Several human rights groups, however, refuted the data and claimed the actual death to stand at around 12,000 to 30,000.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch said the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that the death toll was at least 8,663.
The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019 during the Duterte administration. Incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said that the country has “no intention” of rejoining the ICC. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News