PH contests anew obligation to cooperate with ICC
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has made a fresh bid to contest its obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), this time by going after former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s preliminary examination, which wrapped up well after the country officially withdrew from the Rome Statute in March 2019.
Over the weekend, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its 12-page submission to the court’s Appeals Chamber. which is currently deliberating on whether to allow prosecutor Karim Khan to resume his probe into the alleged crimes against humanity committed in the government’s war on drugs.
Among others, the OSG questioned the ICC prosecution’s arguments that its preliminary examination, which finished last June 14, 2021, meant that the drug war case was already under consideration by the court even before the Philippines withdrew from the ICC.
Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal of state parties from the statute should not affect its cooperation with the court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings, as well as other matters already under consideration of the court, before the withdrawal became effective.
Before this, Khan argued that the prosecution “is very much part of the court,” therefore making the Philippine case already a matter under consideration by the court even if it effectively withdrew two years before Bensouda requested to open a formal investigation.
But this logic, the OSG said, now made preliminary examinations a tool to “indefinitely restrict the sovereign rights of a withdrawing state.”