ICC to closely monitor PH for killings under antidrug campaign
MANILA—The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday said her office would begin to “closely” monitor the developments in the Philippines, raising concern over alleged extrajudicial killings that “may have led to over 3,000 deaths in the past three months.”
“Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence, including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC, is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
“My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened,” she said.
On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte defended his administration’s anti-drugs campaign at a Philippine Business Conference (PBC) event in Pasay City, saying “it is not a crime to threaten criminals with death.”
Stressing that he was unafraid of world leaders and international organizations, Duterte said “they cannot be brighter” than him, and that he could outsmart them if they come to the Philippines to look into the spate of killings attributed to his government.
Once again, he expressed dismay at how the international community has responded to the administration’s move to ensure peace and order in society, saying they do not understand the country’s situation.
Duterte said he had written letters to those accusing him of threatening criminals with death, such as United States President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry, the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Commission and the European Union.
“So I will have to ask you questions after questioning me. Sige, punta kayo dito. Paikutin ko kayo dito ng kamay ko and I’ll play with you… I am very sure, very sure, they cannot be brighter than me… Maniwala kayo. Ay sus. Paikutin kita,” President Duterte said.
In her statement, Bensouda said that the Philippines is a State Party to the ICC since Nov. 1, 2011, giving the Court “jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of the Philippines,” from the day the country entered the Statute.
In a five-paragraph statement posted on the ICC website, Bensouda said she was “deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force.”
“Extrajudicial killings may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack,” she said. CDG/rga
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