PH asks ICC chamber to deny drug war probe request

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — The Philippine government asked the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) pre-trial chamber to deny the request for the resumption of the probe into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

The country formally submitted its comment on the call of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to look into the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the anti-drug campaign, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said in a statement Thursday.

According to the OSG, the Philippine government argued that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the situation in the country. It stressed that the complaints lodged before the court are already being investigated by concerned local agencies.

The government in its submission also noted that the reported murder incidents “do not constitute ‘crimes against humanity,’ considering that said incidents do not qualify as an ‘attack’ against the civilian population.”

“Furthermore, the said occurrences were not in furtherance of a state or organizational policy to commit such attack,” it added.

In November 2021, the ICC suspended its investigation into the Duterte administration’s flagship drug war following a deferral request from the Philippine government.

But last June, Khan pushed to reopen the probe, saying the request was not justified. He argued the Philippine government failed to show proof and details of its own probe on related killings.

RELATED: Relatives of drug war victims tell ICC: No genuine probe in PH

Latest government data showed over 6,000 have died in the anti-drug campaign since 2016. Local and international human rights groups, however, believe the death toll is much higher.