ICC Prosecutor Issues Request To Probe PH Drug War

Outgoing ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda | IMG SOURCE: International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has requested judicial authorisation to proceed with an investigation into the alleged crime against humanity committed during the Duterte administation’s war on drugs.

“Pursuant to article 15(3) of the Rome Statute (“Statute”), the Prosecution hereby requests authorisation to open an investigation into the Situation in the Republic of the Philippines (“Philippines”) between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019.”

“The Prosecution submits that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the Crime
Against Humanity of Murder was committed from at least 1 July 2016 to 16 March 2019 in
the context of the Philippine government’s “war on drugs” (“WoD”) campaign. Information
obtained by the Prosecution suggests that state actors, primarily members of the Philippine
security forces, killed thousands of suspected drug users and other civilians during official
law enforcement operations,” it added.

In a statement, Bensouda said that the “available information indicates that members of the Philippine National Police, and others acting in concert with them, have unlawfully killed between several thousand and tens of thousands of civilians during that time. My Office has also reviewed information related to allegations of torture and other inhumane acts, and related events as early as 1 November 2011, the beginning of the Court’s jurisdiction in the Philippines, all of which we believe require investigation.”

According to the ICC prosecutor, around 12,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed from July 2016 to March 2019 in connection with the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. Government data showed that 6,117 individuals died during anti-drug operations as of April 30 this year.

Although the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2019, Bensouda said in another statement that the court retains jurisdiction over crimes that were alleged to have occurred during the period when it was still a state party to the Rome Statute.

The Duterte administration is expected to face a more intense scrutiny from the international community if the PTC approves the request of the ICC Office of Prosecutor.

Moreover, Bensouda said her successor, Karim Khan, will continue the work as her term will end shortly.

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