The government has asked the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (PTC-ICC) to deny the request of its prosecutor to resume the body’s investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under the Duterte administration in the implementation of its anti-illegal drug war, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday.
Guevarra said the call was made in response to the PTC-ICC’s earlier request for the government to comment until September 8 on the motion of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan.
The Solicitor General said the country’s “observation” on the request of Khan was submitted to the PTC-ICC yesterday through the Philippine Embassy at the Hague, Netherlands where the ICC headquarters is situated.
The ICC is seeking to investigate the killings related to Duterte’s war on drugs for the period between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019, and those that happened in the Davao region between November 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016.
In its submission, the government asserted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the situation in the Philippines.
“The alleged murder incidents that happened during the relevant period do not constitute ‘crimes against humanity’ considering that said incidents do not qualify as an ‘attack’ against the civilian population. Furthermore, the said occurrences were not in furtherance of a state or organizational policy to commit such an attack,” Guevarra said in a statement.
The chief state lawyer also insisted the situation in the Philippines is inadmissible under Article 17 of the Rome Statute, noting that the complaints filed before the ICC are already being investigated and prosecuted by the proper agencies.
He said the Philippine government is neither unwilling nor unable to carry out such proceedings.
“Under the complementarity principle, state-level investigative proceedings should take precedence, thereby rendering the resumption
of the OTP’s investigation into the Philippine situation unwarranted,” Guevarra said.
The ICC has given the Philippine government until September 8 to submit its comment on the request of Khan to resume the body’s investigation into Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
The ICC deferred its probe on the matter last November 20, 2021 upon the request of the Philippine government to give way for the DOJ and other agencies to investigate the killings.
Khan sought the re-opening of the ICC investigation on the Philippine anti-illegal drug war as he expressed doubts on the sincerity of the concerned Philippine government agencies to investigate and prosecute those involved in these drug-related killings.
“The various proceedings referenced by the Philippines also fail to sufficiently mirror the authorized ICC investigation, as required by articles 17 and 18 of the Rome Statute, because the Philippines has not asserted that it is investigating any conduct occurring in Davao from 2011 to 2016, any crimes other than murder, any killings outside official police operations, any responsibility of mid- or high-level perpetrators, or any systematic conduct or State policy,” Khan said.
He also noted that the Philippine government has cited “a relatively small number of past or ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions that appear to fall within the parameters of the ICC investigation.”