Ph must welcome ICC independent investigation

Responding to ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s announcement on opening the preliminary examination into the situation in the Philippines in the context of the ‘war on drugs’, Board Vice Chairperson, Atty. Romeo Cabarde, said:

“If the Philippines is serious about protecting human rights, it should welcome the independent investigation by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Having adopted the Rome Statute as a signatory in 2000 and ratified in 2011, the preliminary examination is a good opportunity for the government to show that it honors its obligations to international human rights laws and treaties.

“It is in the interest of the Philippine government to cooperate fully with the ICC. This would ensure that the OTP’s factual and legal assessment of the different phases of the preliminary examination can take place effectively and efficiently. Given also that the Prosecutor has stated that her Office will be engaging with the Philippine national authorities with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level and that she ‘hopes to count on the full engagement of the relevant national authorities’.

“If the Philippines does investigate and prosecute suspected perpetrators and works closely with the ICC when doing so, the OTP may decide not to open an investigation. However, this would only be the case if the Prosecutor has solid evidence and is absolutely satisfied by genuine and comprehensive investigations and prosecutions at the national level.”