PH ready to give ICC info on probe on ‘killings’ in drug war operations ‘if requested’ – DOJ

November 25 ------ Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said that if requested, the government will provide the International Criminal Court (ICC) with information on action against alleged wrongdoings of law enforcers during their illegal drugs operations. Guevarra made the assurance on Wednesday, Nov. 24, after ICC Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan asked the Philippine government proof of investigation, including the killings of alleged drug suspects.

“If requested by the ICC and authorized by the Philippine government, the DOJ will provide such information as may be needed,” he said. In the meantime, Guevarra said “the DOJ’s focus is on our own investigation, not on the ICC investigation.” Khan had granted the request of the Philippine government to suspend investigation over alleged crimes against humanity committed during the operations against illegal drugs. But Khan had said the Philippine government should provide proof promptly in accordance with the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

“The Office of the Prosecutor takes the view that a State requesting deferral under Article 18(2) of the Rome Statute must provide information concerning its investigations to support its request. Such information must consist of tangible evidence, of probative value and a sufficient degree of specificity, demonstrating that concrete and progressive investigative steps have been or are currently being undertaken to ascertain the responsibility of persons for alleged conduct falling within the scope of the authorized ICC investigation,” reads the statement issued by the ICC.

“The Office of the Prosecutor also takes the view that a deferral may have a specific or partial effect, rather than a blanket or general effect, on its investigation. Information on national investigations and proceedings therefore informs the Office’s assessment of the precise parameters of any deferral. Additionally, any domestic proceedings must be conducted genuinely as required by the Statute,” it added.

The DOJ had reviewed 52 cases involving deaths of 56 persons in illegal drugs operations conducted by law enforcers. Guevarra had directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a case buildup against 154 policemen reportedly involved in the 52 cases. Later, the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP) signed a memorandum of agreement for the joint probe of illegal drugs operations, particularly those that resulted in deaths of suspects and other persons.