Middle East

Philippine president ‘not considering’ rejoining ICC

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Monday that the Philippines has no plans to rejoin the International Criminal Court, with court prosecutors looking to reopen an investigation into the former president’s deadly drug war.

Rodrigo Duterte, who resigned on June 30, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2019 after launching a preliminary investigation into his drug crackdown that killed thousands of people.

An ICC judge approved a full investigation into last September’s anti-drug campaign, which it said resembled an illegal and systematic attack on civilians.

It suspended the investigation two months later after Manila said it was investigating the alleged crime itself.

But ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in June that Manila’s request to postpone the investigation was unwarranted and should be reopened “as soon as possible.”

Marcos Jr., who backed Duterte’s drug war, previously suggested he would not cooperate with the ICC.

On Monday he went even further.

“The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC,” Marcos Jr. told reporters.

Marcos Jr. was elected president in a landslide in May with the help of an alliance with Duterte’s daughter, Sarah, who won the vice presidential election.

During his presidency, Duterte refused to cooperate with the courts, claiming they had no jurisdiction.

Under pressure from the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC, the government has investigated hundreds of drug use cases that have led to deaths.

He has been indicted in several lawsuits. He is the only three police officers convicted of killing drug suspects.

The ICC has asked the Philippines to “comment” on Khan’s request to reopen the investigation, the presidential office said.

Manila has until September 8th to respond.

Marcos Jr. said Monday that recent meetings with his legal team, including former Duterte spokesman Harry Locke, are to discuss whether the administration will respond.

“What we’re trying to say is, we’re doing an investigation here and it’s ongoing. Why should we do that?” Said as a bystander at an event promoting booster shots.

“We’re not under them, so it’s possible that they don’t care[to respond]at all.”

Even if the ICC gathers enough evidence to charge Mr. Duterte, under ICC rules, Mr. Duterte will not be tried in absentia.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/722020/Philippines-president-says-no-intention-to-rejoin- Philippine president ‘not considering’ rejoining ICC

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