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Philippine president says ‘no intention’ to rejoin ICC

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines has no plan to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said yesterday, with the tribunal’s prosecutor seeking to resume a probe into the ex-president’s deadly drug war.

Rodrigo Duterte, who left office on June 30, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2019 after it launched a preliminary probe into his drug crackdown, which killed many thousands of people.

ICC judges authorised a full investigation into the anti-narcotics campaign last September, saying it resembled an illegitimate and systematic attack on civilians.

It suspended the probe two months later, after Manila said it was looking into the alleged crimes itself.

But ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in June that the request by Manila to defer the probe was unjustified and that it should restart “as quickly as possible”.

Marcos, who backed Duterte’s drug war, previously indicated he would not cooperate with the ICC.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr delivers a speech during his visit to a vaccination site in Manila. PHOTO: AFP

Yesterday, he went even further. “The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC,” Marcos told reporters.

Son of the country’s late dictator, Marcos Jr was elected president by a landslide in May with the help of a powerful alliance with Duterte’s daughter, Sara, who won the vice presidential race.

During his presidency, Duterte refused to cooperate with the court, claiming it had no jurisdiction – an assertion rejected by the Philippine Supreme Court.

Under pressure from the United Nations Human Rights Council and the ICC, the government has examined several hundred cases of drug operations that led to deaths.

Charges have been filed in a handful of cases. Only three police have been convicted for slaying a drug suspect. The ICC has invited the Philippines “to offer observations” on Khan’s request to resume the probe, the presidential communications office said.

Manila has until September 8 to respond.

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