The Prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber, such as the one held in the case involving the situation in Afghanistan, has a responsibility to evaluate the prospective feasibility of a probe, considering and balancing the realistic expectations for cooperation by the most relevant national authorities in the collection of evidence and in the surrender of potential suspects, on the one side, and the concrete interests of justice, included the interest of the victims, on the other.
Having said this, we consider the Public Redacted Registry Report on Victims’ Representation submitted to the ICC as more of the opinion of victims wanting the ICC probe rather than erosion of support of the Filipino people.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, whose domestic policy the ICC is questioning, is a democratically-elected President who commands an overwhelming support of the people. An independent local survey shows that 88% of Filipinos backed President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. It is just unfortunate that the Office of the Prosecutor has been used by his ardent critics and detractors as a political tool.
To reiterate, the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute gives us no obligation to cooperate with the ICC, including the opening of its preliminary examination.
This however does not mean that the alleged victims cannot seek redress. The full gamut of the legal remedies under our domestic laws is and always will be available to them.