Philippines Prepares for Potential ICC Arrest Warrant for Ex-President Duterte

The Philippines' Department of Justice is preparing a briefer for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regarding a potential arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for former President Rodrigo Duterte. The ICC is investigating alleged crimes against humanity committed during Duterte's war on drugs.

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Nitish Verma
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Philippines Prepares for Potential ICC Arrest Warrant for Ex-President Duterte

Philippines Prepares for Potential ICC Arrest Warrant for Ex-President Duterte

The Philippines' Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing a briefer for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regarding a potential arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for former President Rodrigo Duterte. The ICC is investigating alleged crimes against humanity committed during Duterte's war on drugs.

Why this matters: The potential arrest warrant for Duterte has significant implications for the Philippines' international reputation and its commitment to human rights and the rule of law. A warrant could also set a precedent for holding former heads of state accountable for human rights abuses, potentially influencing global politics and international justice.

The DOJ's preparation of the briefer is seen as "standard procedure" to ensure President Marcos is fully informed of his options, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil. "This is standard procedure, not a change in position, ensuring that our administration remains prepared for any scenario," Garafil stated.

The Philippines withdrew from the ICC in 2019, but the court still has jurisdiction over crimes committed before the withdrawal. The Marcos administration has repeatedly stated that it would not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction. Senator Francis Tolentino urged Duterte and Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa to trust President Marcos' commitment to not cooperate with the ICC.

"Maniwala tayo sa pangako ni Presidente BBM (Let us trust the promise of President Bongbong Marcos)," Tolentino said. He added, "Kelangan nila tulong ng domestic law enforcement body, dito sa atin NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) yan o kung di man, ise-serve yan dito, wala din yan (If they serve a warrant here, they need the help of a domestic law enforcement body, such as the NBI, without which, it would just come to nothing)."

The DOJ's comprehensive report on the ICC's investigation and its implications for the Philippines suggests the government is taking the matter seriously, despite its stance on not cooperating with the international court. Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed the ICC may issue an arrest warrant against Duterte by June 2024.

The ICC's investigation into Duterte's controversial war on drugs, which resulted in thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings, has been ongoing since 2018. The Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC in 2019 was seen by many as an attempt to avoid accountability for human rights abuses committed during Duterte's term.

As the DOJ prepares its briefer for President Marcos, the country awaits the ICC's decision on whether to issue an arrest warrant for the former president. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the Philippines' international reputation and its commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

Key Takeaways

  • Philippines' DOJ prepares briefer for President Marcos on potential ICC arrest warrant for ex-President Duterte.
  • ICC investigates Duterte's war on drugs, alleging crimes against humanity.
  • Philippines withdrew from ICC in 2019, but court still has jurisdiction over pre-withdrawal crimes.
  • Government claims it won't recognize ICC's jurisdiction, but DOJ's report suggests otherwise.
  • ICC's decision on arrest warrant could impact Philippines' international reputation and human rights commitment.