Remulla to UNHRC: PHL to buck external interference, period

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JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday reiterated before the United Nations Human Rights Council that the Philippines will not allow  “external interference” in the ongoing investigation by the justice department on the deaths related to the anti-illegal drug campaign during the  Duterte administration.

Speaking before the representatives of UN-member states in Geneva, Switzerland, Remulla maintained that the country’s justice system  is “fully functioning”, thus, the International Criminal Court (ICC) “has no jurisdiction over Filipino citizens.”

“Let us heed the lessons of the past. Unjustified external interference has very rarely, if at all, served the cause of human rights,” Remulla  told the 52nd UNHRC session in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We draw the line, as any sovereign state must, when an international institution overreaches and departs from the boundaries of its creation,” he added.

He stressed that international bodies such as the ICC should complement domestic institutions, instead of taking over its function, especially if domestic accountability mechanisms are working to fulfill its mandate.

“National sovereignty and international solidarity go hand in hand, complement each other and create the fertile ground in which human rights can truly flourish. Let us uphold sovereignty and harness solidarity to promote and protect human rights and dignity for all,” the DOJ chief added.

On January 26, the ICC’s  Pre-Trial Chamber’s (PTC)  issued a decision granting the request of Prosecutor Karim Khan for the resumption of the investigation into the abuses and deaths related to the bloody anti-illegal drug war campaign of the previous administration.

The ICC agreed with Khan that 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 mirror the Tribunal’s investigation.”

The ICC pretrial chamber also cited the small number of cases being probed by the Philippine government compared to the thousands of deaths under the drug war.

He added that extrajudicial killing is not and will never be a state policy of the Philippine government.

“We have a working justice system that is a cornerstone of our accountability mechanism. Our prosecutors and courts are ready, able and willing to prosecute anyone if the evidence so warrants,” he said.