The Philippines has no plan to rejoin the International Criminal Court, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said yesterday, with the tribunal’s prosecutor seeking to resume a probe into the ex-president’s deadly drug war.
Rodrigo Duterte, who left office on June 30, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2019 after it launched a preliminary probe into his drug crackdown, which killed many thousands of people.
ICC judges authorised a full investigation into the anti-narcotics campaign last September, saying it resembled an illegitimate and systematic attack on civilians.
It suspended the probe two months later, after Manila said it was looking into the alleged crimes itself.
But ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in June that the request by Manila to defer the probe was unjustified and that it should restart “as quickly as possible”.
Marcos, who backed Duterte’s drug war, has previously indicated he would not co-operate with the ICC. He went even further yesterday.
“The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC,” Marcos told reporters.
Son of the country’s late dictator, Marcos Jr was elected president by a landslide in May with the help of a powerful alliance with Duterte’s daughter, Sara, who won the vice presidential race.
During his presidency, Duterte refused to co-operate with the court, claiming it had no jurisdiction — an assertion rejected by the Philippine Supreme Court.
Under pressure from the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC, the government has examined several hundred cases of drug operations that led to deaths.
Charges have been filed in a handful of cases.
Only three police have been convicted for slaying a drug suspect.
The ICC has invited the Philippines “to offer observations” on Khan’s request to resume the probe, the presidential communications office said.
Manila has until September 8 to respond.
Marcos yesterday said that a recent meeting with his legal team, which includes Duterte’s former spokesman Harry Roque, was to discuss whether the administration would respond.
“What we’re saying is we have an investigation here and it’s ongoing, so why do we have to have that?” Marcos said on the sidelines of an event to promote booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines.
“It’s also possible that we will not bother (to respond) at all because we are not under them.”
Human rights group iDefend said they were undeterred by Marcos’ decision, and vowed to “continue to fight for justice and accountability”.