The International Criminal Court Has Approved a Formal Inquiry into The Philippines' Drug War
The International Criminal Court's (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I approved a formal inquiry into crimes allegedly committed in the Philippines between November 1, 2011, and March 16, 2019, as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign.
In 2019, human rights experts urged the United Nations to conduct an impartial inquiry into human rights breaches in the Philippines linked to the drug war, claiming an increase in illegal murders and assaults on persons and organizations protecting human rights. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, suggested in July 2020 that the Human Rights Council should explore additional accountability measures in the drug fight.
The ICC Prosecutor first sought authorisation to probe the drug war in May 2021, and on June 14 filed a public redacted version of the request. ICC justices approved the official inquiry, concluding that there was a legitimate basis for proceeding.
They said that the war on drugs was not a valid law enforcement activity based on existing facts. Murder, torture, incarceration, sexual assault, and enforced disappearance were among the crimes alleged by victims, according to the panel.
The justices also held that the International Criminal Court (ICC) retained jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed when the Philippines was a member of the ICC and bound by the Rome Statute. In March 2019, the Philippines formally quit the ICC, becoming the second country to do so after Burundi, which left in 2017.