Defending himself before ICC ‘logical thing to do’ for Duterte, says Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not be able to defend himself amid allegations of crimes against humanity in connection with his drug war if he will refuse to cooperate with a possible investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
This was according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who said that Duterte’s non-recognition of the ICC will not stop the court from proceeding with its investigation.
“He cannot defend himself if he would not cooperate… If it (ICC) proceeds with the investigation, what will President Duterte do? Will he appeal and defend himself — which is the logical thing to do? But there is also a situation where he said he will not recognize the ICC. Will the participation be a recognition of the ICC?” Drilon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“It’s easy to say ‘I will not recognize’ but when you start to talk about the path that is being undertaken, the non-recognition will not result in the ICC stopping its investigation,” he added.
Outgoing ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has formally requested judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation of the crimes against humanity case filed against President Rodrigo Duterte, following the conclusion of her office’s preliminary investigation on the complaints filed by local groups.
Duterte’s spokesman, however, said the President will never cooperate in any investigation initiated by the ICC on killings linked to the government’s war against illegal drugs.
While it is within Duterte’s prerogative not to cooperate with a possible ICC investigation, Drilon said that the President’s lawyers are now at a “crossroads” on whether or not to represent the Chief Executive in court.
“This is not an easy situation that he (Duterte) found himself in. The president’s lawyers are now at a crossroads, because the ICC will continue and who will defend the president when the evidence is presented,” said the senator, a former justice secretary.
“They must assess this, representing the President in the preliminary investigation and convince the court that there is no basis to proceed with the formal investigation,” he added.
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