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ICC allows PH to submit reply on probe appeal

The International Criminal Court has granted Manila’s request to reply to the arguments raised by the ICC prosecutor on the country’s appeal against the resumption of the probe into the bloody war on illegal drugs of the Duterte administration.

In a decision made public Saturday, the ICC appeals chamber said itwould help it decide on the appeal petition if the Philippine government submits a reply to certain issues raised by ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan.

It gave Manila until May 16 to submit its response.

“The Republic of the Philippines may file a reply to the Prosecution’s response to the Philippine Government’s Appeal Brief… The reply shall not exceed 10 pages,” read the decision signed by Presiding Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.

In January, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber authorized the resumption of the probe into the previous administration’s controversial drug war, which it suspended in November 2021 following a deferral request from the Philippine government.

Both Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and Justice Secretary JesusCrispin Remulla had challenged the ICC prosecutor as to how he can continue his investigation without the compulsory processes, such as subpoenas, that only Philippine authorities can issue.

But for Khan, this is a misinterpretation of the ICC pre-trial chamber’s decision since the chamber did not rule that the country is obliged to cooperate.

Khan pointed out that cooperation is not a precondition for the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction.

The prosecutor said the government “failed to show any error” in the decision of the court to continue with the probe.

Philippines has since withdrawn from the ICC, but Article 127 of the Rome Statute, which created and governs proceedings at the ICC, requires states that have withdrawn from the court to continue cooperating with the international tribunal.

“A State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute, including any financial obligations which may have accrued…Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.”

The Philippines ratified the Rome Statute in November 2011.

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