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Palace says false claims of killings in war on drugs not in ICC crimes vs humanity

December 8, 2019

Malacanang on Saturday said the false allegations of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the government’s war on illegal drugs does not fall within the International Criminal Court’s definition of crimes against humanity.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in her latest report said they aim to finish their preliminary investigation on the war on drugs by 2020.

“We reiterate that the false allegations of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines do not fall within the ICC’s definition of crimes against humanity. This Government does not sanction nor condone any unlawful act resulting in the loss of lives. Neither does it allow any widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, Panelo said.

“The deaths occurring in the course of legitimate police operations come about because the criminal suspects subject of these law enforcement activities resort to violence that imperil the lives and limbs of the police officers,” he added.

According to government’s data, around 6,000 deaths were recorded during police operations against illegal drugs.

Panelo said the decision of the ICC should be the same as the dismissal decision given to the complaint filed by former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario and ex-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- Morales against Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“The ICC also has also no jurisdiction over it. Stated differently, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC should likewise rule that the preconditions for their court's exercise of jurisdiction over the matter have not been met,” he said.

“As we have maintained earlier, while the Philippines may have been a signatory to the Rome Statute, its membership did not place it under the jurisdiction of the ICC because the law that created it did not comply with the publication requirement to pass the due process test imposed by our Constitution, especially because the instrument is penal in nature,” he added.

Panelo said a contrary interpretation would be antithetical to the demands of due process, constitutionally protected under our Bill of Rights.

“Hence, the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over Philippines, the latter’s membership thereat being void ab initio. Necessarily, it did not give birth to any legal effect,” he said.

Panelo also said the admissibility of any case before the ICC must also pass the test of complementarity.

“In that the Philippines should first be unable or unwilling to prosecute the alleged crimes against humanity in our jurisdiction. There is no evidence that this Administration is unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes against humanity,” he said.

Panelo added the government is pursuing vigorously its campaign against all kinds of crimes.

“The Philippines as an independent State, through its duly constituted authorities, must not be waylaid by any force, internal or external, in going about its task of serving and protecting the Filipino people. Any resort therefore to a foreign tribunal relative to the management of our country's state policies is utter disrespect, and any complainant who does it who is a citizen of the Republic, is an infidel to the sovereign aspirations of this Republic,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS