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Communication Lines Open With ICC – Palace

Communication Lines Open With ICC – Palace
The headquarters of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Photo by Getty Images

The Duterte administration’s view that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate its drug war does not prevent it from communicating with the tribunal, Malacañang clarified on Thursday, Nov. 25.

An ICC pre-trial chamber has allowed a probe into the deaths tied to President Duterte’s war on drugs, which has so far left more than 6,000 suspects dead. Officials claim that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the matter because the treaty that created the court, the Rome Statute, did not meet publication requirements.

The government, however, has requested ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to suspend the probe, saying it is already looking into the killings linked to the drug crackdown. The ICC prosecution has agreed to suspend the probe but has requested the Philippines to provide information about its investigations.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles disputed claims that the government’s request to the ICC prosecution is contrary to the administration’s view that the court has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

“Again, while we do not waive our position that the ICC lacks jurisdiction to probe our campaign against illegal drugs, this does not preclude the Duterte administration from communicating with the ICC,” Nograles said in a statement.

Last Saturday, Nov. 20, Nograles said the government’s communication to the ICC was “conditioned on the fact that in making that communication, the Philippine government was not waiving its position regarding the ICC’s lack of jurisdiction.”

The Palace spokesman, nevertheless, welcomed what he described as the “judiciousness” of Khan and expressed hope that the matter would be resolved “in favor of the exoneration of our government and the recognition of the vibrancy of our justice system.”

Earlier this week, Nograles said the government has yet to receive a formal request from the ICC to provide details that would prove that local authorities are now looking into the killings. He also reiterated that the Philippines’ justice system remains capable and functional.