Philippines to Disengage from ICC to protect Duterte

Philippines to Disengage from ICC to protect Duterte

28 Mar 2023 ( )

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr Tuesday said the Philippines would “disengage from any contact and communication” with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it rejected the government’s appeal to call off its probe in the controversial war on drugs in the country.

“We don’t have the next move. The appeal has failed, and in argue, there is nothing more we can do,” Marcos told reporters.

The Philippines had urged the ICC to suspend the investigation into the drug war waged by the then president Rodrigo Duterte (2016-22).

The Philippine security forces are accused of committing extra judicial murders in the garb of war or drugs that claimed 30,000 lives, as per rights groups.

The Philippine government recognizes some 6,200 deaths in the drive against drug peddlers.

The ICC Monday rejected a new appeal by the Philippines because the court has no jurisdiction over the country’s internal affairs, and the Philippine justice could adjudicate the matter.

“We ended up with the position that we started with: we cannot cooperate with the ICC considering there are very serious questions about their jurisdiction and about what we consider to be interference and practically attacks on the sovereignty of the republic,” Marcos Jr said.

The ICC dismissed the jurisdictional argument since the Philippines did not explain “how the alleged absence of a jurisdictional or legal basis” annuls the investigation in The Hague.

The court asked the country to “continue with its investigations and proceedings, regardless of the ongoing probe” by the ICC.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra denounced the ICC for rejecting the government’s request to suspend the investigation.

He said the impending probe was an indictment against the legal and judicial system of the Philippines.

“The Philippines is not legally and morally bound to cooperate with the ICC,” Guevarra told reporters.

Guevarra said the ruling would have “serious and far-reaching consequences” on the Philippines.

“It places us in the same class of rogue nations where the rule of law is not respected. 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,” Guevarra said.

The Philippines withdrew from the establishing treaty of the ICC in 2019.

But the alleged crimes against humanity investigated by The Hague occurred between 2011 and 2019.

President Marcos Jr, who has been heading the government since June 30 with Duterte’s daughter Sara as the vice president, has denied ICC investigators entry into the country.

The president reiterated that the government did not intend to rejoin the ICC.