International Criminal Court Investigates Duterte for Crimes against Humanity

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THE Philippine human rights chief said today his agency is ready to work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it investigates the thousands of killings carried out in President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug war.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a probe into President Duterte's alleged human rights violations related to his war on drugs.

Roque's pronouncement comes after the ICC Office of the Prosecutor announced that it would begin preliminary examination on the crimes against humanity linked to the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.

Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor said on Thursday that preliminary examinations into Duterte's campaign fought to find whether or not it had the jurisdiction and whether or not crimes against humanity had been committed.

Around 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in Mr Duterte's signature campaign, which has drawn concern from the worldwide community. "It is not defined anywhere so how can you now accuse me of a crime?" said the president, speaking in his home city of Davao about the Hague investigation. "Just the two of us in the room", Mr Duterte told a news conference, referring to Mrs Bensouda.

"There are so many massacres happening in all parts of Asia and you pick on me". So be it. Find a country where they kill people with a firing squad and I'm ready.

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Duterte, whose bloody anti-drug crackdown has seen nearly 4,000 people killed since he took power in 2016, acknowledged that a previous Manila government ratified the treaty that established the ICC, but claimed it had not passed into local law because of a technicality. "You better clear that up because I will withdraw from the ICC", he warned, echoing an earlier threat.

Activists have claimed the death toll is far higher than reported figures and have made accusations of a systematic cover-up, a claim the government and police forces deny.

The outspoken Philippine leader, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, took issue over the Philippines becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor. Both the Philippines and Venezuela are members of the court, meaning that crimes there could fall under its jurisdiction.

The examination is based on the complaint filed in April previous year by lawyer Jude Sabio, the legal counsel of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.

"He also vented his anger at allegations of extrajudicial killings during his campaign, saying the term could not be defined".

"There are adequate laws and remedies in our country to address the issue of alleged extra-judicial killings", the lawyer pointed out.

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