ICC has no authority to probe Philippines, Marcos tells Germany’s Scholz

March 14, 2024 - 1:40 PM
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz receives Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Berlin, Germany, March 12, 2024. (Reuters/Liesa Johannssen)

 Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has no authority to probe his predecessor’s deadly war against drugs.

Marcos discussed the ICC’s probe during a bilateral meeting with Scholz on Tuesday in Germany where he was on a working visit, according to a readout from the Philippine presidential office published late on Wednesday.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte officially withdrew from the international tribunal in 2019 after questioning its power to probe his anti-narcotics campaign, which had killed thousands.

Marcos said Philippine courts continue to function and law enforcers are investigating the killings.

“It is very difficult for the Philippines to accept that an outside court will, shall I say, dictate to our policemen who they will investigate, who they will arrest,” Marcos said.

The readout did not say how Scholz responded to Marcos’ position. Germany is one of the biggest backers and contributors to the ICC.

Marcos separately told reporters the drug campaign has “completely changed” to prevention and rehabilitation, a claim the Human Rights Watch has questioned, saying the killings have continued.

“He cannot claim progress because the impunity persists,” Human Rights Watch Asia Deputy Director Bryony Lau said in a statement.

The Hague-based tribunal rejected last year an appeal from Manila and allowed the resumption of an investigation into the drug war killings and other suspected rights abuses.

Police say they killed 6,200 suspected dealers who resisted arrest during anti-drug operations. Rights groups say the toll could be much higher.

In November, Marcos said he was studying a possible return to the ICC’s fold. Months later, he said the Philippines will not ‘lift a finger’ to help in any ICC probe.

— Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman