Philippines declares no moral duty to cooperate with ICC
MANILA, Philippines —The Philippines has no duty to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigation into the alleged human-rights abuses committed during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday.
“The Philippines is not legally and morally bound to cooperate with the ICC,” Guevarra said in a statement made after the ICC’s Appeals Chamber rejected the country’s request to suspend the ICC Prosecutor’s probe.
READ: ICC rejects PH plea to stop drug war victims from commenting on case
Describing it as an “indictment against our entire legal system,” Guevarra said “it encroaches on our sovereignty as an independent and law-abiding nation.”
“It tends to humiliate us in the eyes of the international community, and this affront is irreversible and incorrectible even if we eventually win on the merits of our appeal,” he added.
Guevarra said the ruling “has placed the Philippines in the same category as rogue nations where the rule of law is not respected and has humiliated the country in the eyes of the international community.”
The ICC’s investigation centers on allegations of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations committed during the country’s war on drugs, which began in 2016.
Duterte withdrew the country from the ICC in 2019 after Prosecutor Karim Khan’s predecessor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary probe into his drug crackdown.
But while the Philippines has pulled out of the ICC, the latter still retains jurisdiction over crimes committed while the country was a state party as provided under the Rome Statute that created the ICC.
Based on the government’s “Real Numbers PH” program, around 6,200 drug personalities were killed in official police operations as of May 2022. However, human rights groups believed the number could be higher, citing deaths attributed to vigilantes and fights among drug dealers.
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