ICC decision to start probe, a big step towards justice

Philippine Coalition on the International Criminal Court

Media Quote

PCICC responding to International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to authorize an investigation into the killings in the Philippines’war on drugs, Dr. Aurora Parong, PCICC co-chair and spokesperson said:

“The Philippine Coalition on the International Criminal Court is encouraged by the fast action of the Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation into the Philippine war on drugs, four months after the Prosecutor requested for authorization. We consider this as a big step towards justice. The perpetrators of this crime against humanity are yet to be made accountable and with the start of the investigation, we are closer to tilting the scales of justice in favor of the victims,

“The families of victims of crimes against humanity are hopefully waiting for that day when they can see the perpetrators of the killing and those most responsible convicted for their heinous crimes. It will still be a long battle, but the evidence has already been secured during the preliminary examination, and witnesses are waiting to testify,

“We continue to appeal to other witnesses of the crimes including those from the Philippine National Police (PNP) to come forward and help the families in seeking justice. We believe that there are members of the police whose conscience and values do not allow them to stay silent amidst the violence perpetrated by government officials hiding behind the cloak of presumption of regularity. We cannot stand by and allow impunity to continue in our land.

“According to the Rome Statute, the State may present claims that they are investigating cases within one month of the notification for opening of investigation. But they need to remember that challenging admissibility can only be done once by the State or individuals prior to or at the commencement of the trial unless the Court decides to defer or give another chance to challenge admissibility,

“Malacañan continues to muddle the issues regarding the ICC investigation. The government failed to show the basis of a functional justice system. After years of probe into the cases on EKJ, only one was successful. There is not much to show that the justice system is functioning. The PNP and the DOJ have been sitting on and hibernating the cases recommended by the PNP Internal Affairs Services (IAS) for criminal and administrative actions. There has been no genuine willingness and ability to investigate towards criminal prosecution and accountability of those most responsible for the widespread killings.

“No less than the Supreme Court stated that all proceedings done prior to withdrawal remain valid even after withdrawal. In fact, the Supreme Court reiterated that the Philippines is still obliged to cooperate in ICC’s criminal proceedings.”