ICC prosecutor Karim Khan maintains war on drugs probe needed

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan speaks during a news conference at the Special Jurisdiction for Peace court in Bogota, Colombia October 27, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez)
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan speaks during a news conference at the Special Jurisdiction for Peace court in Bogota, Colombia October 27, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez)

Unconvinced with Manila’s arguments to discontinue the investigation, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan said that the investigation into the war on drugs of former President Rodrigo Duterte's administration would push through.

In a 21-page response dated September 22 sent to the ICC pre-trial chamber, Khan said that none of the Philippine government’s arguments have merit, and none of the grounds it cited in its reply is backed by facts.

“There is no provision in the Statute for a State to challenge the resumption of an investigation on jurisdictional or gravity grounds at this stage of proceedings,” Khan said.

He also said there was no proof that the Philippine government “has conducted or is conducting national investigations or prosecutions that sufficiently mirror the investigation authorized by the Chamber.”

“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.

This is why, he said, “the Prosecution submits that deferral is not warranted, and respectfully asks the Chamber to order the resumption of the investigation.”

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

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