ICHRP lauds ICC
decision to pursue investigation of Duterte's crimes against
January 28, 2023
MANILA – On 26
January 2023, the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”)
announced that it had granted the Prosecutor’s request to resume
investigation into the Situation of the Republic of the Philippines
(“the Philippines”). The ICC indicated that “following a careful
analysis of the materials provided by the Philippines, the Chamber
is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant
investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s
Having examined the
submissions and materials of the Philippine Government, and of the
ICC Prosecutor, as well as the victims’ observations, the Chamber
concluded that the various domestic initiatives and proceedings,
assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and
progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently
mirror the Court’s investigation.
This conclusion of the ICC
mirrors the earlier findings of Investigate PH Commission of Inquiry
which found that domestic measures were effectively not functioning,
and there was no evidence to support the Philippine government’s
contention that victims could find justice in the Philippine courts.
The judicial system itself was in fact being wielded as an
instrument in the Philippine government’s campaign of state terror.
The ICC decision to
continue the pursuit of justice lays bare the Marcos
Administration’s culpability in shielding the Duterte regime’s
policies of impunity and state terror that killed perhaps 30,000 or
more, and victimized Filipinos for six long years. “We are extremely
appreciative of the decision of the ICC,” said Peter Murphy,
Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the
Philippines (ICHRP). “It offers a mechanism for victims to continue
their pursuit of justice against the Duterte Regime’s brutal war on
drugs, on dissent and on the Moro and all Indigenous Peoples.
Justice will still be served despite the Marcos administration’s
decision to keep the Philippines outside the jurisdiction of the ICC
and cover-up the crimes against humanity committed by the police and
the military under Duterte”.
The new Marcos-Duterte
administration functions simply as a continuation of its brutal
predecessor. ICHRP believes the prosecution by the ICC may not stop
the Marcos-Duterte government from sheltering the perpetrators from
prosecution or prevent such crimes from continuing to occur, but it
can provide some constraint and a measure of justice to the victims.
ICHRP congratulates the
ICC for cutting through the fog of lies and false claims laid out by
the Marcos-Duterte government that the Philippine judicial system is
functioning and can address any concerns about the President, the
regime and the military’s roles in these gross violations of human
rights and crimes against humanity.
In November 2022 Justice
Secretary Jesus Remulla reported to the United Nations Universal
Periodic Review that over 17,000 cases of drug killings involving
police officers had been reviewed, resulting in a small number of
disciplinary actions. “There is no way that this level of inquiry –
most unlikely to be genuine – amounts to an investigation of the
crime against humanity of murder which the ICC was investigating,”
“ICHRP has full confidence
in the impartiality of the ICC. We urge the ICC to vigorously pursue
the full investigation of the previous Duterte administration for
these crimes against humanity so that, finally, justice may be
served and impunity ended,” Murphy said.
Australian-based human rights advocate, led Investigate PH, a recent
three-part investigation by an international commission on the
extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, abductions and
disappearances in the Philippines since July 1, 2016, when President
Duterte came into power.