ICC allows PH reply on drug war killings
MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has allowed the Philippine government to reply to the ICC prosecutor’s push to continue its probe into “crimes against humanity” allegedly committed by former President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a five-page decision made public over the weekend, the court’s Appeals Chamber allowed the government to reply to ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s arguments against Manila’s objection to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, released on Jan. 26, that allowed Khan to pursue the investigation.
The investigation covers alleged extrajudicial killings while Duterte was mayor of Davao City as well as the more than 6,000 slays during his presidency up until March 16, 2019, a day before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, or the ICC charter, took effect.
The current exchange of replies stems from Manila’s appeal of the ICC’s Jan. 26 decision to resume the probe which was suspended to allow the government to conduct its own investigation.
In its latest decision, however, the court granted Manila’s request to reply to only two of the five issues it raised in its appeal.
Until May 16
The court said the three other issues were only repetitions of its arguments during the earlier controversy on the ICC’s jurisdiction over the Duterte killings.
The ICC settled jurisdiction questions in September 2021 when it allowed the ICC prosecutor, who was then Gambian jurist Fatou Bensouda, to start a probe into Duterte’s purported crimes against humanity.
The September 2021 decision was based on the formal complaints raised by the families of 204 victims in 2018.
But in its latest ruling, the court gave the government until May 16 to file its reply to the two issues in not more than 10 pages.
In the first issue, Manila argued that the ICC lost its jurisdiction because it did not begin an investigation before the Philippines’ withdrawal took effect.
The other issue is whether the two-step assessment for admissibility was already nullified by the chamber’s earlier decision on the Afghanistan case.