Gov’t maintains ICC has no jurisdiction in the Philippines

After a thorough study, the Philippine government maintains that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in the Philippines in connection with the bloody war on drugs by the previous government.

A statement by the office of Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra released on Thursday afternoon said it has already "submitted today, 08 September 2022, through the Philippine Embassy at The Hague, Netherlands, its Observation on the Request of the Office of the Prosecutor to Resume Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute."

In its submission to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, the Philippine Government asked the PTC to deny the request of the Office of the Prosecutor to resume its investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in the territory of the Philippines in the context of the so-called "War on Drugs" between 01 July 2016 and 16 March 2019, including in the Davao region between 01 November 2011 and 30 June 2016.

The Philippine Government argued as follows:

The ICC has no jurisdiction over the situation in the Philippines. The alleged murder incidents that happened during the relevant period do not constitute "crimes against humanity," considering that said incidents do not qualify as an "attack" against the civilian population. Furthermore, the said occurrences were not in furtherance of a state or organizational policy to commit such attack.

The situation in the Philippines is inadmissible under Article 17 of the Rome Statute. The Philippine Government emphasized that the complaints filed before the ICC are already being investigated and prosecuted by the proper agencies and that the State is neither unwilling nor unable to carry out these domestic proceedings. A report on the progress of these investigations was included in the submission.

Under the complementarity principle, state-level investigative proceedings should take precedence, thereby rendering the resumption of the OTP's investigation into the Philippine situation unwarranted.

In its submission, the Philippine Government also presented information showing that inquiries were made into the drug-related killings in the Davao region during the period 2011-2016, and that crimes other than murder in connection with the war on drugs were also investigated.

For context, the Philippine Government explained to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber the extent of the drug problem in the Philippines and the process of investigating and prosecuting drug-related offenses under the Philippine legal and judicial system.

The Philippines was represented in the ICC PTC proceedings by the Office of the Solicitor General.

Daily Tribune