ICC report shows victims ‘overwhelmingly support’ probe into Duterte’s drug war
MANILA, Philippines — Most of the victims who had filed representations before the International Criminal Court (ICC) “overwhelmingly supported” an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in the conduct of the drug war, affirming what rights groups said was an “overwhelming clamor for justice” here.
On Sunday, the ICC released a 30-page redacted report saying that 94 percent of the 204 representations filed before the court said they wanted the ICC prosecutor to pursue a full-blown investigation “into all crimes against humanity” allegedly committed in President Duterte’s drug war between Nov. 1, 2011 and March 17, 2019.
Lawyer Kristina Conti, who represents the original families who filed one of the first communiques that prompted the preliminary examination, said the 204 submissions represented 1,530 individual victims and 1,050 families.
The ICC report comes two weeks after the court wrapped up its victims representations stage, in which victims can come forward and tell the court whether they wish the ICC to pursue an investigation here, and why.
Many of the victims who came forward said they wanted a full probe mainly to seek accountability and justice for their loved ones.
Most of them directly accuse Mr. Duterte of instigating these killings.
“There is total impunity here. The police and their cohorts just killed, and the President gave the orders to kill in his public announcement, that’s why the killing continues and this has to be stopped,” one of the victims was quoted saying. “This is so inhuman and cruel.”
“He (Mr. Duterte) should be jailed. We do not need him to die or be killed. We want him to suffer in jail for what he is doing to our country,” another said. “For the suffering he is giving to the people of this country and the powerless.”
The report also noted other reported potential crimes against humanity committed in the context of the drug war: murder, torture, imprisonment, disappearance, sexual violence. Most of the representations want these crimes to be covered by investigation too.
These crimes, they said, inflicted physical, psychological, social and material harm to them.
At this stage, the victims representations are not evidence yet. But it would help the ICC pre-trial chamber decide whether to authorize former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open a probe into Mr. Duterte’s drug war.
National Union of Peoples Lawyers Edre Olalia said this was “one more step toward justice for the EJK victims.”
“We are confident that with this clamor for justice and President Duterte’s weak arguments to avoid accountability, the ICC’s PTC will ultimately grant the OTP recommendation for formal investigation.”
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