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The EJK survey must start in PH, not in ICC

By on June 19, 2021 0

MANILA – The Philippines, and not the International Criminal Court (ICC), must be the first to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) in its territory.

The country cannot be private and preempted to conduct its investigation, according to the Legal Cooperation Group (LCC) of the National Working Group to End Local Armed Conflicts (NTF-ELCAC) which denounced the recent ICC decision to request a full investigation. on alleged human rights violations and crimes committed during illegal drug operations under the Duterte administration.

“If the ICC wants to retain a vestige of legitimacy or a semblance of authority, it must give way to a fundamental principle of international law and which the Rome Statute itself embodies in its provisions: state sovereignty” , the NTF-ELCAC cluster said in a statement. Saturday’s statement.

“It would go against the very idea of ​​justice to prosecute the ICC charges without allowing the Philippine government to tackle these allegations first,” he added.

If so, the cluster said, the ICC investigation would mar the current investigation by government authorities and “effectively mark ongoing investigations by Philippine authorities unnecessary and futile.”

“This will only reveal the ICC investigation as an attempt by states parties to the Rome Statute to politically strengthen the Philippine government,” the LCC statement said.

The planned investigation, according to the cluster, “will only serve to diminish, if not already done, the perceived impartiality of the ICC as an international tribunal.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had previously assured the United Nations (UN) that the country’s campaign against illegal drugs was being carried out in accordance with commitments to international human rights standards.

In his online message to the Joint United Nations Program on Human Rights on June 13, Guevarra said that “the Philippine government reiterates its commitment to fulfill its international obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of our citizens without fear, favor or prejudice in accordance with our Constitution and the interests and welfare of the Filipino people. “

First probe

The ICC first opened a preliminary investigation into the Philippines campaign against illegal drugs in February 2018.

A month later, President Rodrigo Duterte notified the UN of the Philippines’ decision to withdraw from the ICC but assured its commitment to the rule of law.

In a statement on June 14 or a day before the end of her three-year term, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she had completed her preliminary examination on the Philippines and sought permission from the judges of the Court for a full investigation into crimes against humanity. , torture and other inhumane acts committed between November 1, 2011 and March 16, 2019.

The LCC has expressed support for Duterte’s decision not to cooperate with any investigation to be initiated by the ICC.

“We support the president’s decision not to cooperate with the investigation, given that the Philippines is no longer a state party to the Rome Statute, following their formal withdrawal from the treaty,” he said.

He added that the attributions against Duterte for alleged EJKs are “clearly unfounded and find no support in the facts and the evidence”. (ANP)

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