SolGen: Pullout from ICC has no effect on PH judicial system
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ exit from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not affect the country’s judicial system, Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Monday.
“The Philippine justice system functions independently with or without membership in the ICC. Hence, the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute has no effect in our justice system,” Calida said.
He argued that “the investigation and prosecution of drug-related deaths, incidents, and/or offenses are ongoing in the country.”
Calida cited government data which showed that 49,034 drug-related cases had been filed in court while 75,327 of such cases were pending in public prosecutor’s offices as of 2018.
He also said that there are cases pending before the Supreme Court om alleged violations committed in connection with the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“All these facts show that the government is not unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite what administration critics say,” Calida said.
“Our government institutions continue to function, investigate, and prosecute these cases despite membership or non-membership in the ICC,” he added.
Calida also noted that the country’s laws “sufficiently provide remedies and protect the fundamental rights of Filipinos.”
Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, according to Calida, “thoroughly encapsulates the purpose and intent of the Rome Statute.”
This means that “all the relevant protections and guarantees under the Rome Statute are provided to the Filipino people through our domestic law,” he added.
The Solicitor General explained that the Philippines cannot not be “coerced to submit to the jurisdiction of the ICC” as the country had “validly withdrawn from the Rome Statute pursuant to Article 127 thereof.”
Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal of the Philippines would become effective one year after the United Nations secretary-general received a written notice of the State party.
The Philippines submitted a written notification of withdrawal from the Statute with the UN Secretary-General in March 2018.
“As a sovereign state, it is our prerogative to be a party to the Rome Statute or not,” Calida added.
The Solicitor General further said that foreign aid coming in will not be affected following the country’s withdrawal from the international court.
He noted that before the Philippines’ exit from the ICC, only two Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia and Timor-Leste had ratified the Rome Statute.
“The fact that other Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries were not parties to the Rome Statute did not affect their foreign aid,” he said.
He added that the country’s domestic laws “sufficiently afford protection.”
“The Rome Statute is not the only instrument that provides remedies for the protection of human rights,” Calida said.
“The Philippines remain a party to other human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),” he added. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.