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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Justice Secretary’s comment on ICC jurisdiction needs context

The International Criminal Court cannot sanction activities in the Philippines because the country is no longer a state party to the Rome Statute since 2019.

Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla 2022-08-03 Needs context

Under Article 127 paragraph 2 of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, a country that has withdrawn from the treaty is not cleared of its obligations when it was still a state-party. The Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute in November 2011, thus binding the country to the provisions from that date until its pullout became effective in March 2019.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said during an Aug. 3 press conference that the International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot sanction activities in the Philippines since the country was no longer a state party to the Rome Statute in 2019.

Remulla made the comment days after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC. (Read: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos’ about-face on Philippines’ membership to the ICC)

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Under Article 127 paragraph 2 of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, a country that has withdrawn from the treaty is not cleared of its obligations when it was still a state party. The Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute in November 2011, thus binding the country to the provisions from that date until its pullout became effective.

This was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2021 with its ruling on the Pangilinan v. Cayetano case:

“Until the withdrawal took effect on March 17, 2019, the Philippines was committed to meet its obligations under the Rome Statute. Any and all governmental acts up to March 17, 2019 may be taken cognizance of by the International Criminal Court.”

 

Source: Supreme Court E-Library, G.R. No. 238875/G.R. No. 239483/G.R. No. 240954, July 21, 2021

The Philippines withdrew from the ICC on March 14, 2018, almost a month after then ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the launch of a preliminary examination. The withdrawal took effect on March 17, 2019.

 

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Sources

Department of Justice official Facebook page, 1st Press Conference of the Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Aug. 3, 2022

International Criminal Court, Rome Statute, Accessed Aug. 4, 2022

Interview with Ruben Carranza, Aug. 11, 2022

International Criminal Court, Al Bashir, Accessed on Aug. 16, 2022

International Criminal Court, Prosecution’s request to resume the investigation into the situation in the Philippines pursuant to article 18(2), June 24, 2022

Supreme Court of the Philippines, G.R. No. 238875/G.R. No. 239483/G.R. No. 240954, July 21, 2021

 

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)