Marcos on ICC: 'I cannot cooperate with them'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 18) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has doubled down on his stance against the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying he cannot cooperate with the tribunal.

"The Philippines is a sovereign nation and we are not colonies anymore of these former imperialists. That is not something we consider to be a legitimate judgment. Until those questions of jurisdiction and the effects on the sovereignty of the republic, I cannot cooperate with them," Marcos told reporters on Saturday during the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming in Baguio City.

Last month, the ICC pre-trial chamber authorized the resumption of its probe into the country's war on drugs. It was temporarily halted in November 2021.

The Philippines withdrew from the ICC in March 2019. In August 2022, Marcos said that the country would not rejoin the tribunal.

"I feel that we have in our police and in our judiciary a good system," the president pointed out. "We do not need assistance from any outside entity."

In contrast, the ICC said that it was not convinced that the Philippine government had made a real effort to investigate the drug war that resulted in the deaths of 12,000 to 30,000 people, based on the estimates of human rights groups.

"There are many questions about their jurisdiction and what we in the Philippines regard as an intrusion into our internal matters and a threat to sovereignty," Marcos said. "So no, I do not see what their jurisdiction is."

Though the Philippines is no longer a member of ICC, the tribunal previously explained that it retains jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed while a country was still a member.

The investigation covers extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated from November 2011 to March 2019, a period which covers Rodrigo Duterte's mayorship and vice mayorship of Davao City, and half of his presidency.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, alongside 18 other lawmakers, filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to defend Duterte against the ICC probe.

Shortly after the ICC reopened its probe into the drug war, the Philippine government formally appealed the resumption of the investigation before the tribunal's appeals chamber.