CHR: Gov't should show willingness to cooperate in ICC probe


Posted at Feb 11 2018 05:04 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2018 10:12 PM

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MANILA - The Philippine government should show a willingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Court's (ICC) preliminary examination into crimes allegedly committed under the administration's war on drugs, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said.

Speaking to ANC Sunday, CHR spokesperson Jackie de Guia said the Philippines is duty-bound to cooperate with the intergovernmental organization as the country is one of the signatories to the Rome Statute, a 1998 United Nations treaty.

"The CHR being part of the government is willing, if requested, to cooperate with the ICC on its preliminary examination," she said.

The Office of the Solicitor General earlier said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, as it "may only exercise jurisdiction where domestic courts are incapable of carrying out the proper proceedings."

De Guia emphasized that it is still premature to make conclusions on the ICC's jurisdiction. She said the purpose of the preliminary examination of the international tribunal is to determine if it has jurisdiction or not.

"It is very important for the government right now to demonstrate that it is willing and it is able to effectively investigate all these alleged cases of extrajudicial killings in order that we may say that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the matter," she said.

According to De Guia, the ICC will also determine whether there is sufficient evidence of crime of sufficient gravity falling within ICC's jurisdiction and whether there are genuine national proceedings on these cases during its preliminary probe. 

The ICC's preliminary examination was triggered by the communication filed by Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio in April last year accusing Duterte and other government senior officials of committing crimes against humanity due to the war on drugs.

The government has many times denied involvement in summary killings, saying the nearly 4,000 drug suspects killed in police operations had put up violent resistance, prompting officers to defend themselves.

Duterte also defended himself against accusations of having a direct hand in the killings.