PH disappointed: ICC disregards sovereign right to investigate serious crimes
MANILA, Philippines–In dismissing its appeal, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) disregarded the Philippines’ sovereign right to investigate serious crimes.
Expressing disappointment, the OSG said the ruling “in effect refused to recognize the Philippine Government’s primary and sovereign right to investigate serious crimes, in derogation of the complementarity principle so fundamental to the working of the international criminal justice system.”
The OSG said even after the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, it has chosen to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor by submitting data from its investigation into the drug war abuses.
Such effort, it said, was “not out of any legal obligation but purely on the basis of comity, consonant with its assertion of sovereignty. Its submissions bear out the internal investigation and prosecution activities undertaken so far by the Government connected to the anti-illegal drug campaign.”
With the ruling, “the Chamber’s majority conveniently brushed this aside, and worse, they refused to consider the Philippines’ jurisdictional challenge on the ground that the Impugned Decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber is not a decision on jurisdiction,” the OSG said.
Three out of the five judges rejected the appeal filed by the Philippine government led by Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, saying that the challenge to stop the resumption of the drug war probe was unclear.
The OSG said the minority or the dissenting judges correctly pointed out that the Philippines properly raised the issue of jurisdiction.
It added that the minority judges strongly pointed out that the Rome Statute is a treaty and “that it is a fundamental right of States to decide whether they want to be bound by a treaty or not.”
“It, therefore, found that the Philippines’ withdrawal before the Court’s authorization was requested and secured was a valid exercise of a state prerogative, and divests the Court of jurisdiction,” the OSG said.
The two dissenting judges are Presiding Judge Marck Perrin de Brichambaut of France and Judge Gocha Lordkipanidze of Georgia.