Philippine justice secretary urges ICC to notify DOJ on probe into ex-leader Duterte’s drug war

via SCMP’s Asia desk

Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he was unsure if International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors have entered the country without notice to probe a deadly anti-drug campaign spearheaded by ex-leader Rodrigo Duterte.

Remulla said the investigators had not contacted his department, and it was their “duty” to do so in accordance of the principles of international law.

His response came after a former presidential spokesman claimed on social media that the ICC officers were present in the Philippines.

“One of my former associate-foreigners who is a member of the ICC has been to the Philippines. So, I have confirmation that these foreigners have been conducting investigations in the country which is in violation of our constitution because we are no longer members of the ICC,” Roque said.

Remulla insisted on Monday that if the ICC believed it has a case, charges should be filed in the Philippines “because we are a country with a judicial system”, The Manila Standard reported.

The Southeast Asian nation in 2019 withdrew from the international tribunal based in The Hague after then-president Duterte questioned its authority to investigate his police-enforced crackdown on illegal drugs, in which thousands of people were killed.

The killings being investigated by the ICC took place from November 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019, in southern Davao city where Duterte was mayor, and later across the country after he became president.

Duterte has maintained that most of the victims were killed after violently resisting arrest, adding “kill me, jail me … I will never apologise” for the deaths.