Department of Justice examines potential ICC arrest warrants

The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on May 9, 2024, that it is preparing a legal brief analyzing various legal options for the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC). This initiative came against the backdrop of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s allegations that the ICC is preparing an arrest warrant against former President Rodrigo Duterte. Kristina Konti, who supports families of victims in the ICC proceedings, said that ICC arrest warrants are also being considered against Vice President Sara Duterte and former police chiefs Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and Oscar Albayalde.

Deputy Justice Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano IV explained that the legal opinion being prepared will be an “objective statement or an analysis of the pros and cons of each option,” including the possibility of a return to the ICC or the Rome Statute. The government emphasized that this analysis does not represent a change in its political position with regard to the ICC investigation. Senator Leila de Lima’s Liberal Party welcomed the DOJ’s move and again called on the government to work with the ICC to uphold the rule of law and human rights.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International paid tribute to the life’s work of Pastor Amado Picardal, who passed away on May 29, 2024, at the age of 69. Picardal was one of the first to address the extrajudicial killings in Davao City in the late 1990s and 2000s. He also supported human rights groups for years in submitting information to the ICC. The human rights group “Coalition Against Summary Executions”, founded by Picardal, also played a crucial role in Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) investigation into the initial drug-related killings in Davao City. The 2009 HRW report was the first to reveal the drug-related killings of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “Davao Death Squad” – long before the ICC opened an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity.


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