ICC authorises full inquiry into Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’

The Guardian Newspaper reports

‘Reasonable basis’ to believe crime against humanity committed in Philippines crackdown, say judges

The international criminal court has authorised a full investigation into the Philippine president’s “war on drugs”, a breakthrough for campaigners who say the decision brings families one step closer to justice.

The ICC said in a statement that, based on the information provided to judges, the so-called war on drugs appeared to be a “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, which took place “pursuant to or in furtherance of a state policy”. Judges had approved a request to begin the investigation into the crime against humanity of murder, it said.

Duterte rose to power promising a merciless crackdown that would rid the country of drugs. On the campaign trail he once said that there would be so many bodies dumped in Manila Bay that fish would grow fat from feeding on them. Since his election in 2016, between 12,000 and 30,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed in connection with anti-drugs operations, according to data cited by the ICC

Full Article  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/15/icc-authorises-full-inquiry-rodrigo-duterte-war-on-drugs-philippines



Situation in the Philippines: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I authorises the opening of an investigation


​Today, on 15 September 2021, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) granted the Prosecutor’s request to commence an investigation in relation to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign.

On 14 June 2021, the Prosecutor filed a public redacted version of the request to open an investigation, initially submitted on 24 May 2021, requesting authorisation to commence an investigation into the Situation in the Philippines, as provided for in Article 15(3) of the Rome Statute.

Pre-Trial Chamber I composed of Judge Péter Kovács, Presiding Judge, Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera, examined the Prosecutor’s request and supporting material. The Chamber also considered 204 victims’ representations received pursuant to Article 15(3) of the Statute.

In accordance with Article 15(4) of the Statute, the Chamber found that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, noting that specific legal element of the crime against humanity of murder under Article 7(1)(a) of the Statute has been met with respect to the killings committed throughout the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign, as well as with respect to the killings in the Davao area between 1 November 2011 and 30 June 2016. The Chamber emphasised that, based on the facts as they emerge at the present stage and subject to proper investigation and further analysis, the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation, and the killings neither as legitimate nor as mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation. Rather, the available material indicates, to the required standard, that a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population took place pursuant to or in furtherance of a State policy, within the meaning of Article 7(1) and (2)(a) of the Statute.

Philippines, State party to the Rome Statute since 1 November 2011, deposited a written notification of withdrawal from the Statute on 17 March 2018. While the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Statute took effect on 17 March 2019, the Court retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019. While the relevant crimes appear to have continued after this date, the Chamber noted that alleged crimes identified in the Article 15(3) Request are limited to those during the period when the Philippines was a State Party to the Statute and was bound by its provisions.


For further information, please contact Sonia Robla, Chief of Public Information and Outreach Section, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)6 46448726 or by e-mail at: publicaffairs.unit@icc-cpi.int.

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