Philippine DOJ Warns Officials and Police Against ICC Cooperation in Duterte Drug War Probe

The Philippines' DOJ warns officials against cooperating with the ICC's investigation into Duterte's deadly drug war, raising concerns about accountability for alleged human rights abuses.

Rafia Tasleem
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Philippine DOJ Warns Officials and Police Against ICC Cooperation in Duterte Drug War Probe

Philippine Justice Department Warns Police Against Cooperating with ICC Probe into Duterte's Drug War

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Philippines has issued a stern warning to government officials and police officers against cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into former President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs. DOJ spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano IV stated that those who cooperate with the ICC probe, despite the government's policy of non-cooperation, may face administrative charges and possible dismissal from service.

Clavano emphasized that cooperating with the ICC would go against the policies and directives of the current Marcos administration, which has rejected the ICC's jurisdiction over the drug war. He said, "If a government officer or official coordinates with the ICC against the government's policies and orders, they may face accountability. There will be liabilities and accountabilities for those who go against the authorities' policies and orders."

The ICC is investigating the drug war as a possible crime against humanity, focusing on allegations that police operations and vigilante-style attacks under Duterte's anti-drug campaign amounted to widespread human rights abuses. The court has reportedly communicated with over 50 active and former police officials regarding their potential involvement in the drug war killings.

However, the Philippine government maintains that the country has a robust justice system and will not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reiterated that the ICC has no authority to investigate the previous administration's actions, as the Philippines has a functioning police force and judiciary to handle such matters internally.

Why this matters: The ICC probe into Duterte's drug war, which left over 6,000 people dead according to official records and up to 30,000 according to human rights groups, has significant implications for accountability and justice in the Philippines. The government's stance against cooperation with the investigation raises concerns about the country's commitment to addressing alleged human rights abuses and upholding international law.

Philippine Response: Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV revealed that ICC investigators had contacted more than 50 police officers involved in alleged drug killings. The DOJ acknowledged that it may have limited grounds to stop retired police or government officials from cooperating with the ICC in their personal capacity. Clavano stated, "The government will not recognize any results from the reported communication between the ICC investigators and Philippine National Police personnel."

Key Takeaways

  • DOJ warns officials against cooperating with ICC probe on Duterte's drug war
  • Cooperation with ICC may lead to administrative charges and dismissal from service
  • ICC investigating drug war as possible crime against humanity, over 50 officials contacted
  • Philippines rejects ICC jurisdiction, says it has a robust justice system to handle the matter
  • Implications for accountability and justice in the Philippines regarding human rights abuses