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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Philippines appeals resumption of ICC probe into deaths during anti-drugs ops

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THE Philippine government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), has filed a notice of appeal before the International Criminal Court (ICC)-Appeals Chamber seeking the reversal of the January 26 Pre-Trial Chamber’s (PTC) decision authorizing the resumption of the investigation on the abuses and deaths related to the anti-illegal drug of the Duterte administration.

In the five-page notice of appeal signed by Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and several other assistant solicitor generals, the government said it “disagrees with, and hereby rejects,” the conclusions made by the PTC that it has jurisdiction over the situation in the country and that the actions taken by the Philippine government with regard to the issue “do not amount to tangible, concrete, and progressive investigative steps” for the purpose of conducting criminal proceedings.

“The Philippine government thus hereby requests that the implementation of the PTC Decision be suspended pending final resolution of this Appeal,” it added.

Earlier, the Department of Justice (DOJ) maintained that the ICC has lost jurisdiction over the country after Duterte decided to withdraw its membership.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said the ICC’s decision was an affront to the country’s sovereignty.

“Definitely, I do not welcome this move. I will not welcome them [ICC] in the Philippines unless they make it clear that they will respect us. I will not stand for any of these antics that will tend to question our sovereignty. I will not accept that,” the DOJ chief said.

Remulla maintained that the Philippines has a functioning justice system and said the decision of the ICC to resume its “drug war” probe is an “irritant.”

The Philippine government is expected to amplify its grounds against the PTC’s decision when it formally filed its appeal. DOJ spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano earlier said the ICC should give the Philippines more time to investigate the abuses and deaths associated with the drug crackdown of the previous administration.

Clavano said the DOJ probe on the drug war-related deaths is ongoing and Remulla has committed to pursuing each and every case.  

He added there are 290 cases under different stages of investigation, prosecution and in court.

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