In­quiry into drug war to con­tinue, says ICC

Business World - - The Nation - Vann Marlo M. Vil­le­gas

THE In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) said it will con­tinue its pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion into Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs de­spite the coun­try’s with­drawal from the Rome Statute last March.

In a re­port re­leased on Wed­nes­day, the ICC said it will still con­tinue its as­sess­ment of the in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine whether the al­leged crimes com­mit­ted in the course of the drug war are un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Court.

“This as­sess­ment is strictly guided by the re­quire­ments of the Statute and be­ing con­ducted with a view to reach­ing con­clu­sions within a rea­son­able time frame. The Of­fice will also con­tinue to en­gage with a va­ri­ety of reliable sources and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers on all mat­ters rel­e­vant to the pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion of the sit­u­a­tion in the Philip­pines,” ICC said.

“Any al­leged crimes oc­cur­ring in the fu­ture in the con­text of the same sit­u­a­tion could also be in­cluded in the Of­fice’s anal­y­sis. Ac­cord­ingly, the Of­fice will also con­tinue to record al­le­ga­tions of crimes com­mit­ted in the Philip­pines to the ex­tent that they may fall within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Court,” it added.

ICC Pros­e­cu­tor Fa­tou Ben­souda an­nounced the start of pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion on Feb. 8. On March 17, the Philip­pines submitted its with­drawal from the Rome Statute with the United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral.

In its re­port, how­ever, the ICC cited Ar­ti­cle 127 of the Rome Statute stat­ing that with­drawal from the ICC will take ef­fect only a year af­ter the sub­mis­sion of the no­tice of with­drawal.

“The Court re­tains ju­ris­dic­tion with re­spect to al­leged crimes that have oc­curred on the ter­ri­tory of the Philip­pines dur­ing the pe­riod when it was a State Party to the Statute,” the re­port said.

The court said the of­fice of Ms. Ben­souda re­ceived 52 com­mu­ni­ca­tions on the al­leged crimes against hu­man­ity linked to the war on drugs.

The ICC also al­leged that over 12,000 have been killed since July 1, 2016, the start of Mr. Duterte’s pres­i­dency. Anti-drug po­lice op­er­a­tions, how­ever, only cite over 4,800 ca­su­al­ties so far.

The Palace has yet to is­sue its state­ment as of this re­port­ing. —

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