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Remulla on ICC: Unjustified interference rarely served human rights

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday told the United Nations Human Rights Council of the Philippines' rejection of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) reopening of its inquiry on the killings blamed on the previous administration's war on drugs.

In his speech during the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, Remulla said "unjustified external interference" rarely served the cause of human rights.

“The Philippines has a fully functioning justice system under the complementarity test. The ICC, therefore, has no jurisdiction over Filipino citizens whatsoever,” Remulla said told the UN's human rights body.

“Let us heed the lessons of the past. Unjustified external interference has very rarely if at all, served the cause of human rights,” he added.

Remulla said the Philippines respected freedom of expression "and there are hundreds of mainstream media outfits and actors and thousands of social media practitioners."

"Yet, we draw the line as any sovereign state must when an international institution overreaches and departs from the boundaries of its creation," Remulla said.

"In this context, the Philippine government rejects the ICC’s decision to resume investigations over alleged crimes committed during the anti-illegal drug campaign," he added.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019.

In January, the ICC authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the drug war of former President Rodrigo Duterte, a move that was not welcomed by Philippine authorities and described by Remulla as an “irritant.”

The government has said that intended to appeal the resumption of the inquiry before the ICC Appeals Chamber.

According to Remulla, the government believes that international human rights organizations must focus on enabling states to fulfill their obligations.

"The Philippines strongly believes that our international human rights architecture must focus more on capacitating states to effectively fulfill their obligations as duty bearers. This is a more meaningful and effective tool in human rights protection," he said.

Remulla also said there is no culture of impunity in the Philippines.

“Let me assure this council and partners and civil society and reiterate, there is no culture of impunity in the Philippines. We are doubling our efforts to ensure that individuals who breach the bounds of the law, state actors included,” Remulla said. —NB, GMA Integrated News