ICC seeks to investigate crackdown on drug-related crimes in the Philippines

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THE HAGUE – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Monday that she had requested permission to open an investigation into the Philippine government’s murderous crackdown on drug-related crime.

Fatou Bensouda said that a preliminary investigation she opened in February 2018 “determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder was committed” in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019, when the Philippines withdrew from the tribunal.

The alleged crimes occurred “in the context of the Philippine government’s campaign for a ‘war on drugs’,” Bensouda said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced in March 2018 that the Philippines was withdrawing its ratification of the treaty that created the ICC. The decision came into effect a year later.

But Bensouda stressed that the court still has jurisdiction over crimes that allegedly took place while the country was still a member of the court.

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Bensouda, whose nine-year term as the court’s chief prosecutor ends this week, said information gathered during the preliminary investigation “indicates that members of the Philippine National Police, and others acting in concert with them, illegally killed between several thousand and tens of thousands of civilians during this period.

She said prosecutors had also examined allegations of “torture and other inhumane acts and related events” dating back to November 1, 2011, “which we believe require investigation.”

When he announced he was going to step down from court, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his drug crackdown, saying in a 15-page statement that it was “legally directed against drug lords and traffickers. which for many years destroyed the present generation, especially the youth. “

Judges of the world tribunal have 120 days to render a decision on the prosecutor’s request.

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