DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has expressed alarmed over the spate of drug-related killings in the Philippines.
This as the ICC warned the Duterte administration that if such killings would continue it may open a preliminary investigation under the “Rome Statute.”
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said he is worried about the “extra-judicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the Philippines, which may have led to over 3,000 deaths in the past three months.”
“My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened,” Bensouda said in a statement Thursday, Oct. 13.
Bensouda also expressed concerned with the public statements made by the country’s elected officials about the killings that, according to him, seem “to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force.”
“Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court,” he added.
The ICC reminded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the country is a State Party to the ICC as Bensouda pointed out that extra-judicial killings falls under the ICC jurisdiction “if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack.”
Apart from extra-judicial killings, the ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of the Philippines since 1 November 2011, the date when the Statute entered into force in the Philippines. (davaotoday.com)