OSG wants to respond to complaints before ICC
The Philippines should be allowed to respond to comments made by a group of ‘victims’ in the case against the previous administration’s campaign against illegal drugs before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said in a report by Philippine News Agency.
The so-called victims’ comments are being raised for the first time on appeal before the ICC’s Appeals Chamber without giving the Philippines an opportunity to respond or to look into the complaints, Guevarra pointed out.
“For as long as the state will be given a fair opportunity to respond to the victims' submissions during the appeals stage, the OSG will not make any further comment on their involvement. We want to make it of record that at no time during the initial stages of this case was the state ever confronted with the complaints of the alleged victims, much less given an opportunity to address the same,” the SolGen said.
“We do not know who the 90 anonymous victim applicants are and where they are coming from,” Guevarra noted.
In a decision dated March 21, the ICC Appeals chamber directed its Victims Participation and Reparations Section to collect and transmit any representations from any interested victims and victim groups and prepare a report by May 22.
The body has rejected the Philippines’ initial request to be notified of all filings concerning victims citing the Rome Statute’s provision empowering the ICC “to take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses.”
Earlier, Guevarra said the decision to hire a foreign lawyer to handle the government’s case before the ICC is needed to make sure the country’s interest is represented in the tribunal.
British barrister Sara Bafadel, who practices before the ICC at the Hague, was engaged by the Philippine government to represent its case before the tribunal.
Following the decision of the ICC to issue a warrant of arrest on Russian president Vladimir Putin in connection with the Ukraine-Russia War, Guevarra also said that while issuing a warrant in the case against the Philippines is within the powers of the ICC, “whether the same could be enforced is another thing altogether.”
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