The International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected on July 18, 2023, the Philippine government’s request to stop the continuation of the investigation into crimes against humanity in the so-called “war on drugs” by Rodrigo Duterte, during his time as mayor in Davao City and as president of the Philippines (2011-2019). Germany’s new ambassador to the Philippines, Michael Pfaffernoshke, again urged the Marcos administration in an interview with CNN on August 24, 2023, to cooperate with the ICC.
Human rights groups such as Rise Up for Life and for Rights welcomed the ICC’s decision. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) also stressed that this decision points out that “justice cannot wait” and that the Court is taking into account the ongoing situation of grieving families. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) was pleased that the decision sends a strong message to governments that international law cannot be met with impunity.
Human rights groups such as Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) are certain that despite a long pending trial at the ICC, the developments will encourage more families of relatives of victims in the “war on drugs” to share their stories.
The Philippine government and the Department of Justice, however, announced to prevent the ICC from investigating in the Philippines, saying they lack the authority to do so. The Department of Justice would not allow the ICC access to police documents or be available for interviews to gather evidence.
Photo © Raffy Lerma