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CHR says ICC probe an indication of lack of confidence in PHL judicial system

THE PHILIPPINES, through the office of the prosecutor, should prove the capability of its legal system to relax international investigation on its “war on drugs,” the country’s human rights commission head said.

Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), said the International Criminal Court (ICC) would unlikely proceed with its probe on alleged killings related to the Duterte government’s anti-drug campaign if it sees that the local justice system can do the job.

“A core fundamental principle of the ICC is complementarity,” said Mr. Gascon at a Senate hearing Monday. “If it believes that on its own assessment that the state itself has a workable justice system… then its approach is not to proceed.”

“The entire government should as much as possible cooperate with the office of the prosecutor,” he said.

He added that the Philippine legal system must operate consistently with national and international standards while showing its willingness and ability to properly handle the case and hold perpetrators accountable.

Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa, a close ally and former national police of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said he would rather be tried and convicted in the Philippines than in an international court where, he noted, there is no Filipino judge.

Mr. Dela Rosa said he had no trust in a court that had no knowledge of “what was happening in the Philippines.”

“The problem is that the ICC believes too much in biased reports,” Mr. Dela Rosa told the hearing in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Hague-based ICC’s pre-trial chamber has formally opened an investigation on alleged human rights violations committed in the drug war.

Mr. Duterte reiterated last week that his government will not cooperate in any ICC probe nor allow investigators to enter the country. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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