ICC not authorized on drug war probe

An 18-year-old suspected drug dealer is handcuffed after a drug buy-bust operation conducted by policemen in this May 2018 file photo. Solicitor General Menardo I. Guevarra said the International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan lacks any legal foundation to proceed with a drug war probe which is an encroachment of Philippine sovereignty.

Solicitor General Menardo I. Guevarra on Wednesday said the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction to investigate the drug war during the Duterte administration.

In its letter to the ICC dated 14 March, Guevarra said it has requested the criminal court to rule that its prosecutors are “not authorized to resume its investigation into the situation in the Republic of the Philippines.”

He said ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan “would lack any legal foundation” to proceed with the probe which is an encroachment of Philippine sovereignty.

Legislators have defended former President Rodrigo Duterte and officials who are accused of committing crimes against humanity when he ordered the arrest — which turned to brutal killings — in the name of a crackdown on illegal drugs.

“The resumption of the Prosecution’s investigation pending resolution of this appeal would therefore defeat its very purpose and create an irreversible situation that could not be corrected,” Guevarra said.

He added: “The suspension of the Prosecution’s investigation into the situation in the Republic of the Philippines is therefore warranted pending the expeditious resolution of this appeal.”

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said the ICC could not preempt local investigations into the alleged drug war killings

He said the government was not protecting Duterte, denying that it was shielding anyone from the ICC’s probe, even as he urged The Hague-based tribunal to share its evidence with the Philippine government.

The Philippines, he said, is open to a dialogue with the ICC, but it “won’t accept impositions.”

“We are not shielding anyone here. If they have evidence that they want to share with us that will help us with our investigation, why not?” he added.

“Why do they have to prosecute in their own court? We have our own courts here,” he said.

“We have our own judicial system. If they want to prosecute someone, let them show the evidence, provide this to us and we will prosecute because we have the responsibility over our country.”

Remulla aid the Department of Justice did not welcome the ICC sending its prosecutor, Karim Khan, to the country to reopen its probe into the “war on drugs,” claiming the international tribunal did not have jurisdiction over the country.

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