Lacson: ICC findings on PH drug war only ‘as good as a press release’ for now
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday downplayed recent findings by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor that there is “reasonable basis to believe” that crimes against humanity were committed under the Duterte administration’s drug war.
“I’m not sure what the ICC prosecutor actually meant by ‘reasonable basis to believe.’ Under the ICC statute, reasonable grounds to believe is considered as an ‘unreasonably unclear evidentiary threshold’,” Lacson said in a statement when sought for comment.
“In the realm of possibilities to prosecute the President for crimes against humanity, the statement of Prosecutor Bensouda may only be good as a press release and nothing more, at least at this point in time,” the senator added.
Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III gave a short statement to reporters when also sought for comment on the matter.
“That’s what she believes,” he said, referring to Bensouda. “Some believe otherwise.”
In her report, Bensouda noted that in addition to drug-related killings, some individuals were allegedly subjected to serious ill-treatment and abuses prior to being killed by state actors and unidentified assailants, after being arrested or abducted, and while being held in custody before their deaths.
She also cited reports which showed that in at least a few incidents, members of law enforcement raped women who were apparently targeted because of their personal relationships to individuals allegedly involved in the drug trade.
The ICC prosecutor said her office will be deciding whether to seek authorization to open an investigation into the situation in the country in the first half of 2021.
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