On Wednesday, judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague decided to conduct a full investigation of the crimes against humanity committed during the so-called “war on drugs” in the Philippines. writes France 24. The decision was made despite the fact that in 2019 the Philippine authorities refused to cooperate with the ICC, since the preliminary investigation established the involvement of the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte in this repression.
In June, former ICC attorney general Fatou Bensouda asked judges to authorize a full-scale investigation into reports that Philippine police had killed tens of thousands of civilians under the pretext of fighting the drug mafia.
Several months later, ICC judges concluded that the so-called “war on drugs” could not be viewed as a legitimate law enforcement operation, and the killings committed in the course of it were not “mere excesses” that occurred “during a legal operation.”
The materials collected indicate that “the widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population were carried out in accordance with government policy.”
The international investigation covers the period from 2011 to 2019.
The ICC was established in 2002. He is the so-called last resort, which investigates the most serious crimes in the world. This happens if the states supporting the ICC are unable or unwilling to conduct such an investigation.
The 76-year-old Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been in power for five years. In 2016, he won the election, promising to cleanse the country of drugs. The new head of state allowed police officers to kill drug suspects if they pose a threat to them.
According to official figures, since July 2016, more than 6,000 people have been killed in more than 200,000 anti-drug special operations. According to human rights organizations, the number of victims of extrajudicial executions may be several times higher.
The President incited violence and reprisals against other categories of citizens. In February 2018, he ordered the soldiers of the government army not to kill female rebels, but to shoot at their vaginas, as this, in his opinion, would make the fairer sex useless. Human rights activists called the head of state a misogynist.
Duterte also called for shooting at corrupt officials, and with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, at quarantine violators. He called for bribes to be dropped from a height.
Duterte said that when he was mayor of Davao city, he pushed out a man suspected of kidnapping a Chinese citizen from a flying helicopter. “I’ve done this before, why don’t I do it again?” – said the Filipino leader, promising to crack down on corrupt officials as well.
Duterte later recanted his words. “Even if it were true, I would still not admit it,” the head of state said.
Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said that the ICC has no legal authority over him, and that the international investigation is “illegal”. The president also threatened to arrest ICC Prosecutor General Fat Bensouda.