Sunday, October 24, 2021

ICC Prosecutor to commence an investigation about the Situation in the Republic of the Philippines

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Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim A. A. Khan QC, following judicial authorisation to commence an investigation into the Situation in the Republic of the Philippines

On 15 September 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I authorised my Office to commence an investigation into the Situation in the Republic of the Philippines.

In my Office’s 24 May 2021 Request, the Prosecution sought authorisation to commence an investigation in relation to crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“Court” or the “ICC”) allegedly committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the “War on Drugs” campaign, as well as any other crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court, which are sufficiently linked to these events. The Chamber emphasised that, “based on the facts as they emerge at the present stage and subject to proper investigation and further analysis, the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation, and the killings neither as legitimate nor as mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation.”

In their ruling, the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I accepted that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder appears to have been committed. The Judges also noted, as my Office did in its Request, reports of torture and inhumane acts, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearance, and sexual violence. The Judges authorised my Office to investigate such other crimes, as long as they remain within the parameters of the authorised investigation.

While the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect on 17 March 2019, the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed my Office’s position that the Court retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019.

My investigation will seek to uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability.  We will focus our efforts on ensuring a successful, independent and impartial investigation. In doing so, we aim to bring justice to the victims and affected communities, and count on the support and cooperation of States Parties, civil society and other partners.

As we undertake this necessary work, I remain willing to constructively engage with national authorities in accordance with the principle of complementarity and our obligations under the Statute. I equally look forward to exploring opportunities for greater engagement and dialogue between my Office and the Asia-Pacific region.

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