On January 26, 2023, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) granted Prosecutor Karim Khan's request to resume investigation into the drug-related killings in the Philippines. In its announcement, the ICC said is, “not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.”
In a statement, the ICC concluded that “the various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently mirror the Court’s investigation.”
The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC was investigating into then President Duterte’s ‘crimes against humanity’ in relation to the drug war allegedly committed in the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019. However, on 18 November 2021, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines requested that the investigation be deferred.
The resumption of the investigation was welcomed by human rights organizations.
Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of the human rights organization, Karapatan welcomed the decision saying, “we hope that the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber pursues investigation until former President Rodrigo Duterte is convicted and punished for the deaths of thousands in his regime’s bloody anti-drug war.”
Palabay said the resumption of ICC’s investigation, “should also serve as a warning to the current regime for essentially continuing Duterte’s policies on the drug war.”
Peter Murphy, Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), stated, “We are extremely appreciative of the decision of the ICC. It offers a mechanism for victims to continue their pursuit of justice against the Duterte Regime’s brutal war on drugs, on dissent and on the Moro and all Indigenous Peoples. Justice will still be served despite the Marcos administration’s decision to keep the Philippines outside the jurisdiction of the ICC and cover-up the crimes against humanity committed by the police and the military under Duterte.”
“ICHRP has full confidence in the impartiality of the ICC. We urge the ICC to vigorously pursue the full investigation of the previous Duterte administration for these crimes against humanity so that, finally, justice may be served, and impunity ended,” Murphy said.
The Philippines had been a State party to the Rome Statue since November 2011 until President Duterte withdrew the Philippines in 2018.