ICC: No looming probe on killings in Philippines

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2016 02:11 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday clarified that there are no investigations or preliminary examinations being prepared for the Philippines due to alleged extra-judicial killings brought about by the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

Fadi El Abdallah, spokesperson and head of the ICC public affairs unit, told selected members of international media that were given access inside the ICC that, while there was a statement from the ICC Prosecutor with regard to thousands killed in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, no investigation is forthcoming.

"This is part of the deterrent effect of the court to help deescalating the tension sometimes by calling on the different parties to be careful not to commit crimes then the ICC can intervene, but with regard to the Philippines, there is no preliminary examination that has been opened and there is no investigation on going," Abdallah said.

The ICC also explained that the run up to the first stage of prosecution, which is a preliminary examination, is not an overnight process, hence, protocols and procedures will have to take time.

"If the ICC prosecutor wants to investigate on her own initiative, she must obtain the authorization of the judges, so there is a control of a chamber of three judges over this matter," he said.

"It's not only the prosecutor deciding, the judges have to look into this decision, and the state concerned may be able to present objections to that before the judges," he added.

President Duterte recently announced that he might withdraw from the ICC, which would end the country's participation in the criminal court.

According to the ICC, if preliminary examinations are conducted before any withdrawal takes effect, the cases will proceed even if Philippines has already withdrawn its participation from the Rome Statute.