The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber’s rejection of the Philippine government’s appeal to suspend the probe on the Duterte administration’s drug war is an indictment of the country’s judicial system, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday.
According to Guevarra, the ruling will have "serious and far-reaching" consequences for the Philippines.
"It places us in the same class of rogue nations where the rule of law is not respected," Guevarra told GMA News Online in reaction to the ICC chamber's decision.
"It is an indictment against our entire legal and judicial system, and it encroaches on our sovereignty as an independent and law-abiding nation," he added.
"It tends to humiliate us in the eyes of the international community, and this affront is irreversible and incorrectible even if we eventually win on the merits of our appeal."
Due to this, Guevarra said the Philippines is not legally and morally bound to cooperate with the ICC.
Guevarra, however, clarified that the government’s appeal of the decision of the ICC pre-trial chamber authorizing the probe is still pending before the Appeals Chamber.
“Certainly! It’s only the request for suspensive effect pending appeal that has been denied,” Guevarra said.
“Yet the ICC Appeals Chamber has denied our reasonable request to suspend the investigation until the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility of the Philippine situation have been resolved to our satisfaction,” he added.
This was after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that the appeal “has failed” and that it was the end of the country’s involvement with the ICC.
In rejecting the Philippines' appeal, the ICC Appeals Chamber said the government failed to explain the Court's lack of jurisdiction or to provide an explanation of the implications and scope of the investigation.
It also pointed out that the local investigation can proceed even with the ongoing ICC investigation.
Earlier in the day, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the ICC cannot enter the Philippines to investigate the war on drugs and impose a different rule of law.
The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019, under the leadership of then-President Rodrigo Duterte.
In January, the ICC authorized the reopening of an inquiry into Duterte's drug war, a move that was not welcomed by Philippine authorities and described then by Remulla as an "irritant."
Remulla also denounced the ICC’s decision to reopen the inquiry before the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying an unjustified external interference rarely serves human rights. —KBK/VBL, GMA Integrated News