- The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC has put up a probe at Manila’s request into suspected rights abuses during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s on drugs.
- ICC officials approved a probe in September into the campaign in which thousands of drug peddlers have died.
The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC has put up a probe at Manila’s request into suspected rights abuses during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s on drugs.
ICC officials approved a probe in September into the campaign in which thousands of drug peddlers have died. Activists say law enforcement agencies have executed many with the implicit support of the President.
Philippine authorities said the killings were in self-defence and that the ICC has no right to meddle.
On Saturday, court documents released by the ICC and confirmed by Philippine officials showed that Manila filed the deferral request on November 10, citing the country’s investigations into drug killings.
“The prosecution has temporarily suspended its investigative activities while it evaluates the scope and effect of the deferral request,” ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan wrote, adding that it would seek extra information from the Philippines.
Duterte, 76, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2018 and has said the international court has no jurisdiction to indict him. However, the ICC maintains it has jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed while Manila was a member until 2019.
“We welcome the new ICC prosecutor who has deemed it fit to give the matter a fresh look, and we trust that the issue will be resolved in favour of the discharge of our government and the recognition of the vibrancy of our justice system, said in a statement on Saturday.
A Philippine lawyers group called on the ICC to not remove the hope for families of drug-war victims.
“We ask the ICC not to allow itself to be swayed by the claims now being made by the Duterte administration,” the National Union of People’s Lawyers, which represents some victims’ families, said in a statement.
The statement said that the Philippine justice system is “prolonged and unavailing to the majority of poor and unrepresented victims”, information said. The constitution bars him from seeking re-election as President.
“It will, of course, provide some relief in the raucous elections,” political analyst Ramon Casiple, vice president of consulting and research firm Novo Trends PH, told Reuters. “However, it may not enable (him) to do more after the elections, particularly if the incoming government chooses to cooperate with the ICC process.”
In its nearly two-decade existence, the ICC has convicted five men for war crimes and crimes against humanity, all African militia leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Uganda.
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