A Ray of Hope: ICC Prosecutor seeking authorization from Pre-Trial Chamber to investigate

Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Media Quotes

14 June 2021

On the ICC’s statement that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is seeking authorization from the Pre-Trial Chamber to investigate the situation in the Philippines related to possible crimes against humanity, the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) spokesperson, Dr. Aurora Parong, said:

“We have been anxiously waiting and praying for this decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is a very welcome development. It is a ray of hope for justice for the families of victims of killings in the war on drugs. We hope that the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC will immediately authorize an investigation and that it will lead to the filing of charges against those who pulled the trigger as well as against those who encouraged mass executions in the war on drugs.

“We are also hoping that the incoming ICC Prosecutor Kharim Khan will take on the Philippine situation towards actual prosecution of those who are most responsible for the crimes against humanity and make them accountable. Impunity for heinous crimes must be broken by the ICC.”

On the DOJ review and February report of DOJ Secretary Guevarra to UNHRC that police officers did not follow protocols in many of their drug war operations:

“DOJ Secretary Guevarra’s report to the UNHRC, that police officers failed to follow protocols, makes us raise many questions instead of finding answers in our quest for truth on circumstances surrounding the bloody war on drugs.  PCICC laments the absence of transparency since the DOJ report has not been made public. Why the secrecy?  Even the CHR, which is a government institution, has not been given a copy.

“Almost four months have passed since the February report to the UNHRC, where is the DOJ review going? What actions have been done towards justice by the DOJ after finding that police officers violated protocols on many operations? Do the police have proofs that those killed fired the shots if there were no paraffin tests and ballistics tests done? Are those weapons owned by those killed or are they recycled guns from the police? If there were recommendations for administrative and criminal actions against some police by PNP’s Internal Affairs Services (IAS), how many police have been charged in court? Where were these cases filed? Has the DOJ taken steps to file cases if the PNP has not?

“The families of the victims and the public need to know. It is so frustrating to be kept in the dark. This situation adds injury to the already suffering families of EJK victims.”

On PNP Chief Eleazar’s statements that he has no tolerance for rogues including those who may have committed unjustified killings in the war on drugs and will cooperate with the DOJ review: 

“The killing spree by police continues even during the pandemic. PCICC calls on PNP Chief Eleazar to immediately take action to stop the killings. Any police who killed a person, even those allegedly nanlaban, must be investigated and charged then exonerated only after a legal process. The killings must stop and unfettered impunity must not continue.

“The ICC is a court of last resort for peoples from different parts of the world and does not handle all crimes. The wheels of justice in the country must be strengthened to become an effective system for remedies to protect our people. Or else, violations of national and international laws will continue to wreak havoc into the lives of Filipinos.”