ICC finds “basis to believe” Duterte’s drug war caused crimes against humanity

The International Criminal Court ICC has been investigating the human rights violations in the Philippines since the opening of preliminary investigations of the killings by police in the context of the so-called war on drugs in February 2018 by ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. On December 15 they issued a statement where ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there is “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs.

International Law professor Romel Bagares said: “This is a real advance. For the first time the OTP identified the international crimes it said it had reasonable basis to believe were committed at the time the ICC had jurisdiction over the Philippines,”

The ICC is still tying to reach a decision on whether to open an investigation on the human rights violations in the Philippines. They are looking at making that decision in the first half of 2021 – if they determine that the Philippine justice system wasn’t willing or capable of prosecuting the killings on it’s own.

In case the ICC passes on to an investigation, Bensouda will be able to request the ICC judges to issue summons. Although the Philippines have withdrawn from the ICC in 2019, the examinations remain valid for the period before the withdrawal.

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