Bayan Muna backs ICC prosecutor’s bid to rebuff PH gov't call to stop drug war probe | Inquirer News

Bayan Muna backs ICC prosecutor’s bid to rebuff PH gov’t call to stop drug war probe

/ 07:54 PM September 29, 2022
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares on Thursday expressed support for an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s move, rejecting the government's request to stop the tribunal’s investigation on the Philippines’ bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

Atty. Neri Colmenares, former Bayan Muna Partylist representative. Senate PRIB file photo / Joseph Vidal

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said Thursday that he agrees with a move by an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to refuse the Philippine government’s request that the ICC end its investigation into the country’s violent anti-drug campaign.

The statement came after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan on Wednesday denied the call of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration to discontinue the probe,

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In response to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber, Khan argued that “none of those arguments have merit,” referring to the government’s three grounds: lack of jurisdiction, admissibility, and complementarity.

READ: ICC prosecutor rejects PH gov’t call to stop resumption of probe 

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“ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan is correct when he efficiently and effectively rebutted the Marcos’ administration’s assertion submitted on September 8, 2022, that the ICC stop its investigation and dismiss the complaints of the families of President Rodrigo Duterte’s extrajudicial killing victims,” Colmenares said.

He then noted: “The arguments submitted by the government’s Solicitor General merely rehashed its previous arguments that the Philippines is already investigating and prosecuting police officers.”

The government’s explanation, according to Colmenares, was readily dismantled by the ICC prosecutor because the police are not being prosecuted, especially high-ranking officials named on September 15, 2021.

“In fact, there is no mention at all of any investigation of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who is accused of masterminding the killings of drug suspects and activists during his presidency,” he added.

READ: PH gov’t asks ICC pre-trial chamber to deny request to resume ‘drug war’, DDS probe 

Colmenares also slammed the administration for watering down the severity of the drug-related deaths during the term of Duterte.

According to Colmenares, the most condemnable part of Marcos’s submission is their argument that the killings are “not of sufficient gravity to justify further action” by the ICC since they “were not widespread and systematic.”

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Colmenares asked the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to allow the prosecutor to continue the inquiry, and Marcos was asked to cease defending former President Duterte so he could present the evidence he claims to have in his defense.

“Lastly, we call on President Marcos Jr. to return to the fold of the ICC, and assure the Filipino people that the widespread and systematic attacks against civilians under President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and President Rodrigo Duterte will not happen again,” Colmenares said.

In August, Marcos said the Philippines would not rejoin the ICC, citing ongoing investigations into allegations of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Duterte administration.

Critics and human rights groups have since slammed this decision, calling it a “terrible mistake.Catherine Dabu, INQUIRER.net trainee

RELATED STORIES:

Bongbong Marcos: PH won’t rejoin ICC; critics hit decision 

US rights group opposes end to ICC probe 

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TAGS: Bayan Muna, Bongbong Marcos, ICC, Neri Colmenares, war on drugs
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