De Lima says deferment of ICC probe on drug war killings 'most disappointing'

Published November 20, 2021, 7:00 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Opposition senator Leila De Lima said on Saturday, Nov. 20 that the reasons cited by the government for the suspension of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation were just done to delay the proceedings, if not for the ICC to entirely defer investigation and prosecution to President Duterte’s administration.

Senator Leila de Lima

“The decision of the ICC Prosecutor to suspend the investigative activities in the Philippines in light of the request of the Duterte government is most disappointing,” she said.

De Lima explained in a statement that the ICC prosecutor should understand that any amount of investigation by the current government will be insignificant if it meant the “meaningful” and “genuine” prosecution of those guilty of the crimes against humanity, simply because it is these same government authorities who allowed these crimes to continue “unabated” by not prosecuting the “killers”.

“The ICC Prosecutor must know that none of the purported domestic investigations, including the DOJ’s review process conducted under the aegis of A.O. 35 targets or involves Duterte himself, the top suspect or the person most responsible for these crimes,” she added.

READ MORE: Gov’t deferment request means Duterte admin recognizes ICC jurisdiction — Trillanes

She also mentioned that she is hoping that the ICC prosecutor does not fall into the trap of letting those guilty of the crimes dispose of the evidence under the guise of being allowed to investigate their own crimes.

“I take comfort in the fact that the suspension of the ICC Prosecutor’s investigative activities is merely temporary in order to “assess the scope and effect of the Deferral Request” of the Duterte government, which, hopefully, will not take much time,” she said.

De Lima urged the public to repose its trust in the Office of the ICC Prosecutor and the ICC institutional mechanisms to achieve true and complete justice for the victims of crimes against humanity under the current administration.