Tell it to SunStar: Marcos Jr.’s refusal to rejoin ICC denies justice for drug war victims, promotes climate of impunity

·2 min read

The refusal of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as former president Rodrigo Duterte’s adamant rejection of the ICC’s jurisdiction in relation to its investigation on the crimes against humanity committed in the brutal drug war by Duterte and cohorts, come as no surprise to human rights advocates.

Marcos Jr. had plainly stated and signaled his position during the campaign period—that if he is to be president, he will not cooperate with the ICC investigation. This and his political collusion with the Dutertes, alongside their similar policy views and track records, have been widely viewed as a dangerous combination that engenders a climate of guaranteed impunity.

Meanwhile, Duterte has been consistent in mapping out ways to evade his accountability in the extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in his sham drug war.

With this first official act and statement as president regarding the ICC, Marcos Jr. has indicated where his administration stands on issues pertaining to the respect for civil and political rights, particularly its callousness on the plight of the drug war victims and their families and their calls for accountability. He has effectively denied them justice.

After all, what can we expect from someone who has shamelessly branded victims of human rights violations—people who have been killed, disappeared, tortured, illegally arrested and detained, among others—during his father’s dictatorial rule as greedy people who are only after money?

Karapatan lauds the tenacity and courage of the victims and their families in pursuing complaints at the ICC, as we call on the Pre-Trial Chamber to commence its investigation into the crimes committed by Duterte and his cohorts.

We will continue to support efforts to hold accountable government officials who ordered, incited, and/or paved the way for the commission of the brazen mass murder of mostly poor Filipinos during the Duterte administration.

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