On November 18, 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) temporarily suspended its investigation into the Philippines. According to an ICC press release, the Philippines requested deferral of the Office of the Prosecutor’s (Office) investigations and proceedings related to alleged crimes against humanity committed between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 “in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign,” and in the Davao area between November 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016. The Office took the view that it is necessary for a state that requests deferral to demonstrate “concrete and progressive investigative steps have been or are currently being undertaken to ascertain the responsibility of persons for alleged conduct.” The Office, accordingly, stated that it will request that the Philippines provide “substantiating information regarding the investigations and proceedings.” The Office further stated that the investigation is temporarily suspended for the matters requested by Philippines; however, the Office will continue to analyze information that it already possesses or information that is submitted by third parties.
On September 15, 2021, the ICC’s Pre-trial Chamber I stated, in its decision, that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed in Philippines, and that the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate the situation. Accordingly, the Chamber authorized the “commencement of the investigation into the Situation in the Philippines.”