President Rodrigo Duterte will not cooperate with any investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding killings linked to his anti-drug war campaign, Malacanang said on Tuesday, June 15.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has called for a full investigation into suspected crimes against humanity by the Duterte administration following the conclusion of a three-year preliminary investigation.
But palace spokesman Harry Roque said that “the decision to move forward into a formal investigation stage is legally erroneous, politically motivated.”
“It is legally erroneous because in the first place the ICC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of crimes against humanity as alleged in her information against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Roque said.
Duterte withdrew from the ICC in 2018, shortly after Bensouda announced that the ICC was opening a preliminary probe into the drug war.
“Hindi po natin kinakailangan ang mga dayuhan na mag-imbestiga ng mga patayan dahil sa drug war dahil gumagana po ang sistemang legal sa Pilipinas,” said Roque. “I am confident that the pre-trial chamber will reject the request for investigation.”
Roque also claimed that the investigation is politically motivated as the ones behind the case are Duterte’s critics, such as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Communist Party of the Philippines founder, Joma Sison.
“The President will not cooperate (with ICC) until the end of his term.”
But Bensouda maintained that the ICC still retained jurisdiction over the case as it was still a party to the Rome Statute, which establishes the ICC, during the time when the crimes were said to have occurred.
“I have determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the Government of Philippines ‘war on drugs’ campaign,” Bensouda said in a statement.