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Tuesday, 18 July 2023

Statement on the ICC decision rejecting the Philippine appeal on its investigation

The ICC decision rejecting the Philippine government’s appeal to discontinue its investigation into the possible crimes against humanity of the Duterte drug war exemplifies the principle that justice cannot wait. The Court has clearly considered the lack of domestic recourse for the victims and the suffering of their grieving families, who are still denied recognition and reparation in their own country.

Despite President Marcos Jr.’s pronouncements of a different approach, drug related extrajudicial killings persist including those of children and minors. Unlawful arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual assault, harassment and intimidation resulting from anti-drug operations continue despite Marcos’ promise of a ‘humane’ alternative.

As it is an ongoing policy, government refuses to recognize its utter failure to protect the rights of Filipino citizens, much less address the atrocities spurred by the violent campaign. Contrary to its much touted adherence to human rights, the government remains unwilling to undertake criminal investigations of the highest officials responsible. Hence the President is racking up his own tally of victims and his own criminal culpability in these crimes.

In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement lauds the ICC decision and supports its sustained investigation into the Philippine human rights situation. We further commend the international community’s unrelenting support to the cause of justice. Lastly we commend the survivors and victims’ families whose collective courage pushes the wheels of international justice to turn. In the end their struggle benefits all of us who pray such a war, the impact of which will be felt for generations, is never imposed on us again.

iDefend reiterates its call to the Marcos Jr. government to abandon the violent war on drugs, formally cooperate with the ICC investigation and end impunity for these serious crimes. Now that international criminal justice is running its course, let this administration’s response be the return to the fold of the law by re-ratifying the Rome Statute. Let our people gain from this historic experience of exacting accountability for crimes of global concern, so that we can send this message to all future tyrants: justice will be served, and human rights will be protected.