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No probe of Duterte over war on drugs, ICC clarifies

NO INVESTIGATIONS are being prepared against President Rodrigo Duterte over his administration’s alleged involvement in the summary killings in the country due to his war on drugs, the International Criminal Court said Friday.

But the Court repeated its warning against the summary killings that have resulted in the death of thousands of drug dealers and users in the Philippines as a result of the Duterte administration’s continuing crackdown on illegal drugs.    

“This is part of the deterrent effect of the court: to help deescalate the tension sometimes by calling on the different parties to be careful not to commit crimes, but with regard to the Philippines, there is no preliminary examination that has been opened and there is no investigation ongoing,” Fadi El Abdallah, spokesman and head of the ICC public affairs unit, told ABS-CBN in an interview in The Hague.

The ICC said the run-up to the first stage of prosecution, which is a preliminary examination, is not an overnight process, hence protocols and procedures will have to take time.

“If the ICC prosecutor wants to investigate on her own initiative, she must obtain the authorization of the judges, so there is a control of a chamber of three judges over this matter,” he said.

“It’s not only the prosecutor deciding, the judges have to look into this decision and the state concerned may be able to present objections to that before the judges.”

Last October, Fatou Bensouda, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said Duterte’s alleged orders on extrajudicial killings might fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if they were committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack.

The permanent international court can prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Making another turn on his anti-American rhetoric, Duterte recently announced that he might withdraw from the ICC and follow in Russia’s footsteps.

The ICC said if preliminary examinations were conducted before any withdrawal took effect, the cases would proceed even if the Philippines had already withdrawn its participation from the Rome Statute.

Since July, Duterte has overseen a brutal crackdown on illegal drugs that has left more than 3,300 people dead, both in the hands of policemen as well as in unexplained circumstances, according to official data.

In his speeches, Duterte has specifically stressed that he sees nothing wrong with his threats to kill drug lords and pushers because the gravity of the country’s drug problem called for it.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Duterte administration , Extrajudicial-killings , War on illegal drugs , International Criminal Court
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