MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it will continue to assess the alleged crimes against humanity under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs despite the government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
In a report released Dec. 5, on preliminary examinations on the country, the ICC said that its Office of the Prosecutor “is continuing its assessment of the information available in order to reach a determination on whether there is reasonable basis to believe that the alleged crimes fall within the subject matter, jurisdiction of the court.”
The ICC opened a preliminary examination of accusations of crimes against humanity against President Rodrigo Duterte in February this year following a review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes.
After a month, Duterte announced the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute. The United Nations Secretary General was notified of the pullout last March 17, however, under the ICC rules, the withdrawal will only become effective a year after the formal pullout was deposited.
But based on the preliminary examination report, the ICC “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 Philippines deposited its instrument of ratification to the Statute on 30 August 2011. The ICC therefore has jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes committed on the territory of the Philippines or by its nationals since 1 November 2011,” read the preliminary examination report.
On March 17, 2018, the Philippines deposited a written notification of withdrawal from the Statute with the UN Secretary-General and “in accordance with article 127, the Philippines’ withdrawal will become effective one year after this date,” ICC noted.
The ICC also noted that any alleged crimes occurring in the future in the same context of the same situation could be included in the Office of the Prosecutor’s analysis.
The ICC opened a preliminary examination into Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity last February, “following a review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes.”
The ICC claimed that it has received 52 communications in relation to the situation in the Philippines.
Duterte faces charges before the ICC for drug war-related crimes allegedly committed since he assumed the presidency. However, he has repeatedly claimed that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.
The ICC is a permanent court that investigates, prosecutes and tries those accused of committing the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. /jpv