Philippine National Coalition for the ICC statement on the Government's request to defer ICC investigation

PCICC: Philippine government uncertainty shown in request to defer ICC probe

20 November 2021

Responding to the news that International Criminal Court Prosecutor granted the Philippine government’s request to defer its investigation into the situation in the Philippines, Dr. Aurora Parong, Philippine Coalition on the International Criminal Court (PCICC) Co-Chairperson said:

“The Philippine government’s request to ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor asking it to defer its investigations in relation to crimes allegedly committed in the context of Durterte’s ‘war on drugs’ shows its struggle in proving that it has indeed fulfilled its obligations under the principle of complementarity in genuinely conducting investigations and prosecutions at the national level. The only way for the Philippines to challenge admissibility is by presenting evidence, within one month of the notification for opening of investigation, that they are investigating cases. This holds true regardless of the Philippines’ membership to the ICC, and the Duterte administration is scrambling for proof that are not really there to begin with,

“This administration had more than 5 years to show its willingness and ability to investigate and prosecute and only has one case to show for it. Out of almost 30,000 cases of extra-judicial killings as a result of the “war on drugs”, one solved case is ridiculous. This delaying strategy, which the Philippine government also used for the UNHRC inquiry, exposes Duterte’s uncertainty and loss of confidence that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the situation of the Philippines. 

“While the OTP temporarily suspending its probe may cause more delays in achieving justice for the families of victims, it also reflects that the ICC is fair, transparent and consistently pursuing justice everywhere it has jurisdiction, without fear or favor. The court’s strength is in its integrity, impartiality and independence in the face of political pressure. The PCICC earnestly hopes that the ICC OTP will be able to assess the request promptly that it would be best to pursue investigation fully the soonest possible time.”

Read the original statement here