Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced on Tuesday via a state-run news agency that he is severing ties with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the court denied the government’s appeal to terminate its investigation into his predecessor’s war on drugs. Marcos stated that due to the “very serious questions about their jurisdiction and about what we consider to be interference and practically attacks on the sovereignty of the republic”, the Philippines can no longer cooperate with the ICC. The ICC rejected the Philippine government’s appeal on Monday, stating that there was no convincing reason to halt the investigation. As a result, Marcos declared that his government has no further action regarding the matter and that they would no longer recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction. The ICC is a court of last resort when national authorities are unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute crimes.
HRW’s Asia researcher Carlos Conde welcomed the ICC’s decision to resume its probe, which was suspended in 2021 when the Philippines promised to conduct its own investigation. The ICC launched a full investigation into the drug war campaign in September 2021, but ICC prosecutor Karim Khan in June 2022 called for the ICC probe to resume. According to a 2017 report by HRW, over 12,000 Filipinos died as a result of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, and while there is no evidence that Duterte ordered specific extrajudicial killings, his repeated calls for killings in part of his anti-drug campaign could constitute acts instigating law enforcement to commit murder.
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