President Rodrigo Duterte In Serious Trouble – As Philippine Lawyer Takes Him To ICC

A Philippine lawyer on Monday filed a
complaint at the world’s only permanent
war crimes court against President
Rodrigo Duterte, alleging his war on
drugs has caused some 8,000 deaths.
Lawyer Jude Sabio urged the prosecutor
at the International Criminal Court in The
Hague to investigate Duterte and senior
adminstration officials and bring charges
of crimes against humanity against them
for “the terrifying and gruesome
situation of continuing mass murder in
the Philippines”.

image

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte /
AFP PHOTO / POOL / David MAREUIL

Sabio, who is the lawyer for Duterte’s
confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, said
the president “began his strategy or
system of eliminating or killing persons
suspected of crimes, including drug
addicts and pushers” when he became
mayor of Davao City in 1988.

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“The ‘repeated, unchanging and
continuous’ mass murder being
conducted by the President Duterte has
already resulted into the deaths of not
less than 1,400 individuals in Davao City
under his Davao Death Squad and not
less than 7,000 individuals in his war on
drugs at the national level,” the filing
said.
Sabio travelled to The Hague to hand
over his complaint in person to the office
of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
There was no immediate reply from her
office to an AFP request for comment,
but Bensouda in October issued a strong
statement about the alleged killings,
warning those responsible could face
prosecution.

“I am deeply concerned about these
alleged killings and the fact that public
statements from high officials of the…
Philippines seem to condone such
killings,” she said.
“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…
to the commission of crimes within the
jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable
for prosecution before the court.”
Duterte won election by a landslide last
May largely on his promise to launch a
war on illegal drugs.
Although the campaign has proved
popular at home, the president has faced
international criticism for the thousands
of alleged extrajudicial killings.

– Police probe under way –

The government denies the allegations,
and presidential spokesman Ernie Abella
said Monday that police were already
probing those suspected “of violating
procedures.”
He also pointed to an investigation by
the country’s Senate, in which Matobato
was a star witness, and said the ICC “as a
court of last resort, will only exercise
jurisdiction over a case once legal
remedies in the Philippines have been
exhausted.”

The so-called ‘extrajudicial killings’, are
not state-sanctioned or state-sponsored.
Police authorities are conducting
legitimate operations that require
observance of operational protocols,”
Abella added.

Since it began work in 2002, the ICC says
the prosecutor’s office has received some
10,000 requests from individuals, groups
or countries to investigate alleged crimes.
It is then up to the prosecutor to decide
if there is enough cause to open a
preliminary inquiry into whether a full-
blown investigation is then merited.
There are currently 10 preliminary
examinations, and 10 full investigations
under way.

A total of 23 cases have been dealt with,
securing nine convictions and one
acquittal. Five trials are ongoing.

Courtesy: News Agency

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