President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has stated that the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), maintaining the stance of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who withdrew the country’s membership from the ICC in 2019 after the intergovernmental organization launched an investigation into his administration’s anti-drug campaign that claimed the lives of thousands.
Marcos’ decision was announced after the president reportedly met with his administration’s legal team and selected officials to discuss how to handle the Hague-based court’s plan to reopen the investigation into the former president’s war on drugs.
Police records show that some 6,000 have been killed in the drug war, while human rights groups and investigations by news organizations peg the figure at over 12,000. Human Rights Watch attributes over 2,500 of the killings to the Philippine National Police.
“Sinasabi ngayon na itutuloy ang imbestigasyon. Sinasabi naman namin may imbestigasyon naman dito at patuloy rin naman ang imbestigasyon. Bakit magkakaroon ng ganoon? (ICC says that they will continue the investigation. We’re saying that there is an ongoing investigation here. So why would we need another probe?” President Marcos told reporters at a news conference yesterday.
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan had requested to resume the investigation into the bloody drug war after the probe had been paused in November following a deferral request from Manila.
Yet in June, Khan said the country’s deferral request was not warranted and the investigation should restart “as quickly as possible.”
The Philippine government claims that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines after Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, in March 2019.
The Hague court argues that they still have jurisdiction over crimes committed before the withdrawal, with former ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda saying that the ICC has a “reasonable basis to believe” that “crimes against humanity on murder” were committed in the country between July 1, 2016, when Duterte took office, to March 16, 2019, days before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute.