ICC prosecutor’s insistence to investigate ‘disservice to Philippines’: Remulla

DOJ chief Boying Remulla and ICC prosecutor Karim Ahmed Khan.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla (left) and International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Ahmed Khan. The ICC prosecutor's continued insistence to investigate the war on drugs is a disservice to the Philippines, Remulla said. (Photos: Boying Remulla/Facebook; AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

In response to International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan’s insistence to resume the war on drugs investigation, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Wednesday (September 28) that resuming the investigation is a disservice to the Philippines.

On September 22, Khan debunked the Philippine government’s argument to discontinue the war on drugs probe in a 21-page response, saying that none of the points they cited have any merits.

“The [Philippine government] argues that its criminal justice system generally functions well, and that certain administrative and other mechanisms may or can result in criminal proceedings. However, nothing in the observations nor in the hundreds of pages of associated annexes substantiates that criminal proceedings actually have been or are being conducted in anything more than a small number of cases,” the ICC prosecutor said.

“Although the [Philippine government] has provided updates on a small number of criminal proceedings (most of which were already known to the Prosecution and addressed in its request to resume the investigation), the substantiated cases remain 1) very few in number compared to the total number of alleged killings, 2) focused overwhelmingly on low-ranking police officers and physical perpetrators, with no apparent investigation of higher-level perpetrators, and 3) framed in terms of ‘isolated instances’ without inquiry into larger patterns of conduct or underlying policy,” Khan added.

Remulla said that he will not comment any further on Khan’s response.

“We are a functioning democracy. Our judicial system is functioning … as far as we're concerned, we’re not members of the ICC anymore. And we cannot have any compulsory process in our country if we have to investigate what he wants to investigate,” Remulla said.

“Mr. Khan is doing them [ICC] a great disservice by putting a challenge to our system … They cannot run roughshod over our system and say you’re a lousy country and you cannot do what we want you to do,” Remulla, visibly irked by the continued question on Khan’s response, added.

He also said that the international tribunal would not even be able to exercise its jurisdiction and any policing powers in the country, as ICC and its prosecutor cannot force their way into the Philippines.

“We’re not a party to this case. We’re not a member of the ICC after all. Will they take over our country? Are they gonna send peacekeeping forces here and take over our military and our police and start running our show for us? Are they gonna take over a justice system? I don’t think anybody here will allow that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war architect, said that the ICC wouldn’t be able to do anything if the Philippine government refuses to cooperate.

He also said that Khan’s insistence on investigating the drug war has absolutely no basis.

Bakit siya mag-insist, di ba? Kayo mismo tanungin ko, you are witness to what is happening in this country. Meron ba tayong crimes against humanity na nangyayari dito? Wala naman. Bakit siya mag-insist? He is not part of the Philippine government, he is not a part of the Philippine jurisdiction. Bakit siya nagi-insist na makialam sa problema natin dito?” dela Rosa said.

(Why would he insist? I’ll ask you since you are a witness to what is happening in the country. Do we have crimes against humanity here? No. Why will he insist? He is not part of the Philippine government, he is not a part of the Philippine jurisdiction. Why would he insist on meddling with our affairs here?)

Walang patutunguhan yan. There’s a deadlock, kumbaga strategic stalemate. Paano sila magpu-pursue, paano sila magpatuloy sa kanilang gustong gawin, ano’ng magiging basehan nila? How can they conduct an impartial and true investigation kung hindi sila makapasok dito. So ano ang magiging basis nila sa pag-prosecute ng kaso if they really prosecute?” the police chief-turned legislator added.

(It won’t prosper. There’s a deadlock, like a strategic stalemate. How can they pursue, how can they continue what they want to do, what would be their basis? How can they conduct an impartial and true investigation if they can’t go here? What would be their basis to prosecute, if they’re really hellbent on prosecuting?)

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