International Criminal Court

ICC probe an opportunity for Marcos gov’t to demonstrate transparency – CHR

Michelle Abad

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ICC probe an opportunity for Marcos gov’t to demonstrate transparency – CHR

MARCOS ON CLIMATE. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York City, US, September 20, 2022.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

'The ICC investigation is an opportune occasion for the present government to take the right track in upholding its human rights obligations, especially for those wronged and violated,' says the Commission on Human Rights

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights has urged the Philippine government to view the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision on the drug war killings under the Duterte administration as an “opportunity” for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to demonstrate his commitment to transparency and human rights.

“In the interest of justice and accountability, the CHR urges the government of the Philippines to view the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decision as an opportunity to fulfill President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s earlier commitment in ensuring a ‘high-level of accountability’ for human issues and violations during his term,” the CHR said in a statement on Saturday, January 28.

“Let this development be a chance for the Philippines to demonstrate openness and transparency as part of the fraternity of nations that values human rights and the rule of law,” it added.

The ICC on Thursday, January 26, said its pre-trial chamber authorized the resumption of the investigation into killings under Duterte’s drug war, moving the probe to the warrants stage.

The ICC had paused its investigation in November 2021 after the Philippines asked for a deferral. The Philippine government was given a chance to submit more proof that it was willing and able to genuinely investigate the killings with its own justice system.

The pre-trial chamber received submissions from the Philippine government, the ICC Prosecutor, and victims. But the ICC would have deferred jurisdiction over the case if it was satisfied with the submissions.

‘Opportune occasion’

The CHR, the Philippines’ independent national human rights institution, said it extended its “openness and willingness” to assist the Marcos administration in upholding the rights and dignity of Filipinos.

“CHR acknowledges that there are present efforts being done by the current administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in improving the human rights situation in the country. The ICC investigation is an opportune occasion for the present government to take the right track in upholding its human rights obligations, especially for those wronged and violated,” the CHR said.

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Following the ICC’s latest move, Duterte said he will not allow “foreigners” to judge him – his consistent reaction to the ICC case, even from when he was still president.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra on Friday said the Philippines will appeal the ICC decision. On the same day, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla that the ICC was “insulting” the Philippines with its decision to resume the investigation and that government was still unwilling to cooperate with the probe.

During the warrants stage, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan’s office will look for evidence to potentially request the court to issue either summons or warrants. The latest ICC information did not provide specific names, but Duterte and his allies like Dela Rosa, have been mainstays in the probe over Davao Death Squad killings and thousands of drug war deaths. – Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    Good suggestion from CHR: “… a chance for the Philippines to demonstrate openness and transparency.” Unfortunately, “openness and transparency” are traits or values NOT practiced (and never will be) ever since from the Duterte Administration until even now under BBM.

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.