Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday welcomed an investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor into drug-related killings under the Duterte administration.
“We welcome the declaration of the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan that the ICC will now commence the impartial investigation on the killings during President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s war on drugs with a commitment to uncover the truth and ensure accountability. The prosecutor has echoed the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber’s position that the ICC maintains jurisdiction for crimes committed before the effectivity of the withdrawal of President Duterte from the ICC,” he said.
“This is but just and a correct legal position as criminals cannot just get away from accountability for crimes against humanity by simply withdrawing from the court,” he added.
Neri Colmenares, Makabayan senatorial bet and Bayan Muna chairman, said “President Duterte’s lawyers and legal arguments have lost the last three rounds in the ICC when the ICC conducted a preliminary examination in 2018, recommended investigation in June
2021 and the Pre-Trial Chamber’s order for investigation.”
Colmenares said “President Duterte’s legal argument that the ICC has no jurisdiction because of the Philippines withdrawal from the ICC, has been effectively debunked by Article 127 of the Rome Statute as well as the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decision to conduct an investigation.
“Maybe it’s about time that President Duterte abandons his legal tactic and submit his evidence and defense in the ICC that he did not order the killings of thousands of drug suspects all over the country,” he said.
President Duterte earlier said he will prepare his defense against the ICC probe.