PH appeals ICC’s revival of ‘drug war’ probe
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reverse the January decision of its pre-trial chamber (PTC) which authorizes the resumption of investigation on abuses and deaths related to the Duterte administration’s brutal war against illegal drugs.
Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra confirmed that the notice of appeal was filed by the government last February 3.
The five-page appeal registered the Philippine government’s disagreement to and rejection of the PTC’s reasons for reviving the “drug war” probe. The PTC concluded that the Philippine government is not undertaking tangible, concrete steps to investigate abuses and deaths in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign.
READ: ICC resumes probe on PH’s drug war
The Philippine government requested the ICC to suspend the implementation of the PTC’s decision pending final resolution of its appeal, which was signed by Guevarra and Assistant Solicitor Generals-Myrna Agno-Canuto, Henry Angeles, Marissa Dela Cruz-Galandines, and Hermes Ocampo.
No argument was offered but Guevarra said they will be filing an appeal brief before the end of February.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Carlos Conde said he is optimistic the appeal would not change anything to stop the resumption of the drug war probe, adding that it seems the government is just going through the motion of exhausting the remedies available to it.
He said it would be better if the Marcos administration would cooperate with the probe.
“Instead of undermining the ICC and its important work of accountability, the government should really just cooperate. Just because it’s no longer a state party to the Rome Statute doesn’t mean it cannot cooperate,’ Conde said.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said ICC investigators will not be welcomed in the country unless they will not impose and respect the justice system.
READ: Remulla: PH justice system working, ICC revival of ‘drug war’ probe an ‘irritant’
He asserted that the country has a functioning justice system and said the decision of the ICC to resume its “drug war” probe is an “irritant.”
In granting the request of Prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the probe into the Philippines’ war on drugs, the ICC said the information and materials submitted by the Philippine government “do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently mirrors the Tribunal’s investigation.”
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