By ABS-CBN News
THE HAGUE- The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is looking at 2020 to finalize its preliminary examination on issues concerning the war on drugs in the Philippines, according to a report released Thursday.
“During 2020, the Office will aim to finalize the preliminary examination in order to enable the Prosecutor to reach a decision on whether to seek authorization to open an investigation into the situation in the Philippines,” the report read.
According to its annual report, the Prosecutor’s Office “advanced its assessment of whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed under Article 15 (3) of the Statute”.
Article 15 (3) of the Rome Statute states that “if the Prosecutor concludes there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, he or she shall submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation, together with any supporting material collected.”
On Feb. 8, 2018, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the opening of a preliminary examination on the alleged crimes committed in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war. This, after her office reviewed a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes including extrajudicial killings.
Prior to this, on Oct. 13, 2016, the prosecutor issued a statement “expressing concern about the reports of alleged extrajudicial killings of purported drug dealers and users in the Philippines.”
The prosecutor also recalled “that those who incite or engage in crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court are potentially liable to prosecution before the Court.”
Following the announcement of the preliminary examination, the Philippine government deposited on March 17, 2018 a written notification of withdrawal to the UN Secretary-General. The withdrawal took effect a year after, on March 17, 2019.