ICC prosecutor vows to 'uncover truth, ensure accountability' in drug war probe | Global News
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ICC prosecutor vows to ‘uncover truth, ensure accountability’ in drug war probe

/ 10:04 PM October 07, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan on Thursday promised to conduct an “independent and impartial” investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, including drug war killings, as it seeks to “uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability.”

“[W]e aim to bring justice to the victims and affected communities, and count on the support and cooperation of States Parties, civil society and other partners,” Khan said in a statement.

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READ: ICC PROSECUTOR STATEMENT ON THE PHILIPPINES

Earlier, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC authorized the start of the probe into the crimes against humanity cases filed against President Rodrigo Duterte in connection with the drug war killings.

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The request for authorization to investigate the case against Duterte was filed last June 14 by Fatou Bensouda, Khan’s predecessor, before she stepped down.

“My investigation will seek to uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability. We will focus our efforts on ensuring a successful, independent and impartial investigation,” Khan said.

In undertaking the probe, Khan also said he remains willing to “constructively engage” with Philippine authorities under the principle of complementarity and the court’s obligations under the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

“I equally look forward to exploring opportunities for greater engagement and dialogue between my Office and the Asia-Pacific region,” he went on.

Recently, Duterte said he would be ready to face charges against him — including those filed against him before the ICC—once he has stepped down from power.

READ: Duterte says he’s ready to face ICC case, others once he steps down

Duterte reiterated that he would answer for police officers involved in drug war operations, especially in cases when suspects were killed — “as long as they obeyed the law.”

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However, the President stood pat on his stance that he would not participate in any probe launched by the ICC, insisting the international body no longer had jurisdiction over the Philippines.

The Philippines, he said, has its own judicial system and the ICC should not interfere with the country’s processes.

In 2018, Duterte declared that the Philippines would pull out from the Rome Statute. The withdrawal took effect on March 17, 2019.

But Khan pointed out that the ICC pre-trial chamber affirmed that the court retains “jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019.”

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TAGS: drug war, Features, ICC, nation, President Rodrigo Duterte, Prosecutor Karim Khan
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