ICC starts prelim exam of NUPL complaints vs Duterte

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THE International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has started its preliminary examination of the complaints filed by the National Union of People’s Lawyer (NUPL) against President Rodrigo R. Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity.

In a letter received by NUPL on April 4, the ICC said: “It appears that your communication relates to a situation already under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor. Accordingly, your communication will be analyzed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information.”

In August last year, NUPL assisted the families of victims of alleged extrajudicial killings in filling a complaint before the ICC on the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs and criminality.

Lawyer Jude Sabio filed the first complaint against Mr. Duterte for crimes against humanity before the ICC in April 2017.

The ICC added that “analysis will be carried out as expeditiously as possible, but please be aware that meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time.

“As soon as the decision is taken whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, we will advise you promptly and we will provide reasons for the decision,” the letter said.

Malacañang reiterated its claim that it was never a party to the Rome Statute which created the ICC. This even though the Philippines officially withdrew from the ICC on March 17, one year after the note verbale on the country’s withdrawal was sent to the United Nations.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo had previously said that the ICC’s probe into the government’s deadly war on drugs is a form of interference. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras