08/02/2022, 14.59
PHILIPPINES
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War on drugs: Marcos Jr will not rejoin the International Criminal Court

by Stefano Vecchia

The decision comes after the ICC resumed its investigation into former President Duterte who had pulled out in 2019 in order for the Philippines to carry out its own investigation.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Philippines will not rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) established by the Rome Statute, with headquarters in The Hague (Netherlands).

The latter entered into force on 1 July 2002, which the Philippines ratified on 30 August 2011, recognising the jurisdiction of the Hague-based tribunal.

The decision by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr ends the rapprochement between the Philippines, further complicating the ICC’s work in identifying and enforcing international law against Marcos's predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who left office on 30 June of this year.

According to Philippine police, some 6,000 people, mostly drug dealers and addicts, were killed in Duterte’s “war on drugs”, the main thrust of his election campaign in 2016 and his main legacy.

News media and human rights groups have reported that the actual figure of people killed tops 12,000, and that many of them were killed in extrajudicial executions, including political opponents and activists not involved in drug dealing.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Philippine National Police are directly responsible for 2,500 killings carried out at checkpoints or during arrests, and have enjoyed total immunity.

In 2019, after the Court announced that it was opening an investigation into the offences committed during the Duterte administration, the Philippine government decided to pull out.

Marcos Jr's decision not to rejoin came after the ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced that the investigation was resuming after it was suspended it in November 2021 at Manila's request.

The Philippine government said that it would conduct its own investigation. President Marcos stressed that outside involvement in domestic affairs was not necessary.

Yet, the tug-of-war over jurisdiction looks set to continue, as the court's former chief prosecutor, Gambian Fatou Bensouda, recently referred to Duterte's war on drugs as “crimes against humanity”.

It is likely that the Court will decide to investigate the atrocities committed in the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and March 2019, when Duterte was in power and before he pulled the Philippines out of the ICC.

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