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ICC suspends PH drug war probe

November 20, 2021 People's Journal 195 views

THE International Criminal Court has suspended its investigation into suspected rights abuses committed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” following a request from Manila.

The Hague-based court in September authorized a probe of the campaign that has left thousands of people dead, saying it resembled an illegitimate and systematic attack on civilians.

Duterte was elected in 2016 on a campaign promise to get rid of the Philippines’ drug problem, openly ordering police to kill drug suspects if officers’ lives were in danger.

At least 6,181 people have died in more than 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to the latest official data released by the Philippines.

ICC prosecutors in court papers estimate the figure to be between 12,000 and 30,000 dead.

According to court documents, Philippine ambassador Eduardo Malaya requested a deferral.

“The prosecution has temporarily suspended its investigative activities while it assesses the scope and effect of the deferral request,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan wrote in a court notification dated November 18.

He said the prosecution would request additional information from the Philippines.

Duterte pulled Manila out of the ICC in 2019 after it launched a preliminary probe, but the court says it has jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a member.

After long refusing to admit the court had any power to intervene and refusing to cooperate, Duterte backtracked in October to say he would prepare his defense.

In his letter requesting a deferral, Ambassador Malaya said the Philippine government was investigating the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the drug war. AFP

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