Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte would not cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into the Philippines’ drug war, his lawyer said yesterday, after ICC judges found the crackdown could involve crimes against humanity.
ICC judges — who on Wednesday authorized a probe into Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign, which rights groups say has killed tens of thousands of people — said it resembled an illegitimate and systematic attack on civilians.
Duterte “will not cooperate since first of all, the Philippines has left the Rome Statute, so the ICC no longer has jurisdiction over the country,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo told radio DZBB. “The government will not let in any ICC member to collect information and evidence here in the Philippines. They will be barred.”
Duterte pulled Manila out of The Hague-based court after it launched a preliminary probe, but the ICC said that it had jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a member.
Rights groups, lawyers and relatives of people killed in the drug war welcomed the ICC decision.
“I’m glad because this might be a way for us to get justice for the deaths of our loved ones,” said Corazon Enriquez, who blames Duterte for the killing of her son in a police raid on their home in 2016.
“That’s what we’re hoping for — for that person responsible for the deaths of our children and family members to pay,” Enriquez said.
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia said the organization hoped that this was the “beginning of the end to impunity.”
“Duterte and his cohorts should be made accountable for these crimes,” human rights group Karapatan said.
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