ICC expected to pull Russian rabbits from a hat without funding

Over 27,832 Filipino civilians have been killed by their government. Many more have disappeared, and hundreds are wrongfully imprisoned. The International Criminal Court (ICC/Rome Statute) has been trying to get to this matter but now may have the Russians and Ukrainians committing war crimes on its plate—and the ICC is as poor as the average Filipino.

“It is frustrating that the Marcos, Jr. administration has chosen the path of hesitancy and resistance to cooperation in the ICC probe and rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC/Rome Statute). To be blunt about it, it’s plain cowardice. Unwilling or afraid to displease or offend Duterte. As to Duterte, it’s plainly indicative of guilt or evasion of accountability, that he persists in undermining ICC’s jurisdiction. Their insistence on barring the investigation only shows that they fear what the probers may unearth,” Leila De Lima told an interviewer last week. Ms. De Lima is a human rights defender, former Senator, and still held in detention as a political prisoner in the Philippines.

“Thus far, the Marcos continuance of the Duterte regime has refused to rejoin the ICC,” said one of some 800 protesters who encircled Marcos’ palace (Malacañang) on International Human Rights Day a week ago.

Culture of Impunity Grows in the Philippines’ Marcos Jr. Regime claim local human rights groups

Protest organizers last Saturday, in a statement released the day before said, “Despite these sordid figures there has been zero justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings. The culture of impunity continues to rear its ugly head.”

“It is a time when we are seeing our rights eroded globally, where you are seeing a shift away from democracy to … fascism and it’s time for us to hold the line so this is what we did today,” Maria Ressa, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner told The Associated Press.

According to a Philippine Star Op-Ed piece, “This President respects women and isn’t the type who will crack rape jokes, leer at the Vice President or order soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina.”

But Leila De Lima is still a political prisoner, Maria Ressa is still the victim of a weaponized Department of Justice, and the Philippines, an early adopter of the ICC left under Duterte and has not returned under Marcos.

Maria Ressa is a journalist who has been critical of the Philippines murder of over 27,000 people the government did not like.

“…The fact that Menardo Guevarra is still the Solicitor General will weaken such a possibility [of the Philippines return to the ICC], considering that he was precisely placed in his new position to continue on defending Duterte the way he did as the former President’s Secretary of Justice. But if President Marcos keeps on appointing other advisers who are independent of Duterte’s Davao mafia and who are not beholden to Duterte, there is a chance that the policy on non-cooperation with the ICC will change,” suggests Leila De Lima.

But the ICC needs much more than a returning member can bring, according to its chief prosecutor and the Human Rights Watch.

The HRW group said last week in a report, “There is a wide gap between the court’s workload and its annual budget, set at US$156 million in 2022. During 2022, in addition to Ukraine, the prosecutor has sought to move forward investigations in the Philippines and Venezuela, and has received authorization to resume an Afghanistan investigation.”


Karim Ahmad Khan

Karim Ahmad Khan, Chief Prosecutor International Criminal Court (ICC/Rome Statute). Photo Credit: ICC