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What to Know About the ICC Probe Into the Philippines’ Drug War | TIME

As President of the Philippines in March 2019, Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the country from being a party to the International Criminal Court. But it was too late to stop a probe the ICC had started in 2016 that was looking into Duterte’s “war on drugs,” a bloody anti-illegal-narcotics campaign defined by mass extrajudicial killings that left an estimated more than 6,000 people dead.

The investigation was initially put on hold at the request of the Philippines in November 2021, but in January 2023, the ICC announced that it was resuming its investigation, and in July, it rejected the country’s grounds for appeal.

After Duterte left office last year, his successor Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said, “the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC.” But more recently, Marcos has admitted that he’s considering rejoining the court, as some lawmakers have requested that the new government cooperate with the investigation. Only one other state, Burundi in 2017, has withdrawn from the ICC, which has 123 members.

“Should we return under the fold of the ICC?” Marcos told reporters in Metro Manila Friday. “That’s again under study. So, we’ll just keep looking at it and see what our options are.”

But at the same time, Marcos has emphasized his continuing opposition to the ongoing ICC investigation into his predecessor.

“It’s not right for outsiders, foreigners to tell us who our police should investigate, who our police should arrest, who our police should imprison,” he told reporters in Tagalog. “That’s not right. Only Filipinos should do that. We have our police, anyway. We have our National Bureau of Investigation, anyway. We have our Justice Department. They can do that job.”

To date, however, no independent Philippine investigation has been made into Duterte’s drug war.

Read More: Leila de Lima Is Free but Not Finished Fighting: Exclusive Q&A With Duterte’s Fiercest Critic

Here’s what to know about the ICC investigation.

Former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda first made note of the violence in Duterte’s drug war in October 2016. At the time, Bensouda flagged that the Philippines already reported some 3,000 extrajudicial killings of alleged drug users and pushers since the