For those supporting the current regime and clapping their hands that this day would most likely end without the International Criminal Court Prosecutor opening a preliminary investigation into the Philippine case: don’t rejoice yet. There is no requirement for the Prosecutor to officially open a preliminary investigation on or before 17 March 2019. You have a wrong understanding of the significance of today’s date. It is not the deadline for the Prosecutor to initiate a preliminary investigation; it is the deadline for the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes against humanity in the Philippines.
In other words, the ICC cannot anymore investigate, prosecute and try crimes against humanity in the Philippines committed AFTER 17 March 2019, but it does not mean that the ICC is precluded from continuing with the investigation and issuing the warrant of arrest against Mr. Duterte after today.