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PH to ask ICC chamber to reverse approval of war on drugs probe

The Philippine government has submitted a notice of appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber days after the ICC authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the killings linked to the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

In a five-page notice dated February 3, the government said it disagreed and rejected the conclusions of the Pre-Trial Chamber when it authorized the reopening of the inquiry.

The Pre-Trial Chamber had said that it was not satisfied with the Philippine government’s investigations and that its initiatives were not "tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps.”

The chamber also held that it had jurisdiction over the Philippines, a claim repeatedly denied by Philippine authorities.

It added that the government could no longer re-litigate the issue of gravity as this had already been “considered and rejected.”

“The Philippine government disagrees with, and hereby rejects, the Pre-Trial Chamber I’s conclusions above mentioned,” read the notice of appeal.

“The relief being sought is a reversal of the decision and the denial of the OTP’s (Office of the Prosecutor) request to resume investigation regarding the situation in the Republic of the Philippines,” it added.

The document was signed by Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and Assistant Solicitor Generals Myrna Niagno-Canuto, Henry Angeles, Marissa Dela Cruz-Galandines, Hermes Ocampo, and Ma. Cileo Se-Rondain.

An appeal brief will be filed before the end of the month, Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019 during the Duterte administration. Due to this, government officials say that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines. — NB/VBL, GMA Integrated News