ICC Resumes Investigation into President Duterte’s Drug War

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International Criminal Court Resumes Investigation Into Crimes Committed By Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has resumed the investigation into crimes undertaken during the term of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022), which was temporarily suspended in November 2021. A statement released by the court argues that the decision is a result of their dissatisfaction with investigations carried out in the Philippines.

“After having examined the material sent by the Government of the Philippines, the ICC Prosecutor, as well as having analyzed the observations of the victims, this court concludes that the domestic initiatives do not result in concrete or tangible steps,” the court declared.

The Philippines initially requested a suspension of the ICC investigation in November 2021, responding to a request by Duterte. Then, under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Manila asked the ICC last September to reject the resumption of it, claiming to have sent the court a “progress report” on the inquiries.

Marcos Jr. must now decide whether or not to collaborate with the ICC investigation, as he initially expressed he ‘had no intention’ of reincorporating the Philippines into the court nor allowing entry of ICC officials.

Because the Philippines is no longer part of the court, the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate alleged crimes against humanity as long as the investigated country was part of the court when the events occurred.

Since Duterte came to power in June 2016, anti-drug operations backed by his government have claimed the lives of some 30,000 people, according to various organizations, which could constitute crimes against humanity, the focus of the investigations of the court of The Hague.

Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch believes that the resumption of the ICC investigation is the “only credible way to do justice to the victims and their families.”

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