Secretary Jesus Remulla of the Philippines Department of Justice held a press conference Saturday regarding the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to authorize an investigation into the deaths of civilians during the government’s “war on drugs.” Remulla stated he did not understand why the ICC “insist on entering the Philippines’ considering they have a ‘fully functioning judicial system” and the country is no longer a member of the ICC. In response to being asked what the next actions were, Remulla stated they did not welcome the ICC’s decision, labelling the move as an “imposition” and “unreasonable,” questioning whether the ICC wished to “take over” the Philippines’ judiciary.The ICC Thursday stated that the government has failed to provide adequate information and had not satisfied the ICC that the investigation could be deferred based on the principle of complementarity. This principle prevents the ICC from hearing a case where the state with relevant jurisdiction is already investigating.The investigation the ICC have authorized is into the deaths of an estimated 12,000 to 30,000 Filipino citizens in connection to the government’s crackdown on drugs between 2011 and 2019. There have been claims that citizens were “recruited, coordinated, and paid by police to kill citizens.” The government requested a deferral in November 2021; however, it has been noted that the longer the ICC is prevented from investigating, the easier it would potentially be to remove evidence.
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