Business World

CHR says ICC probe an indication of lack of confidence in PHL judicial system

- Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

THE PHILIPPINE­S, through the office of the prosecutor, should prove the capability of its legal system to relax internatio­nal investigat­ion on its “war on drugs,” the country’s human rights commission head said.

Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), said the Internatio­nal Criminal Court (ICC) would unlikely proceed with its probe on alleged killings related to the Duterte government’s anti-drug campaign if it sees that the local justice system can do the job.

“A core fundamenta­l principle of the ICC is complement­arity,” said Mr. Gascon at a Senate hearing Monday. “If it believes that on its own assessment that the state itself has a workable justice system… then its approach is not to proceed.”

“The entire government should as much as possible cooperate with the office of the prosecutor,” he said.

He added that the Philippine legal system must operate consistent­ly with national and internatio­nal standards while showing its willingnes­s and ability to properly handle the case and hold perpetrato­rs accountabl­e.

Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa, a close ally and former national police of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said he would rather be tried and convicted in the Philippine­s than in an internatio­nal court where, he noted, there is no Filipino judge.

Mr. Dela Rosa said he had no trust in a court that had no knowledge of “what was happening in the Philippine­s.”

“The problem is that the ICC believes too much in biased reports,” Mr. Dela Rosa told the hearing in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Hague-based ICC’s pre-trial chamber has formally opened an investigat­ion on alleged human rights violations committed in the drug war.

Mr. Duterte reiterated last week that his government will not cooperate in any ICC probe nor allow investigat­ors to enter the country.

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