Rodrigo Duterte: ICC prosecutor intends to reopen investigation into Philippine drug war

The court suspended the investigation in November at Manila’s request, with Philippine officials citing their own investigation into the killings. Governments can ask the ICC to set aside a case if they are conducting their own investigations and prosecutions for the same actions.

“After careful and thorough review of all information provided by the Philippines, as well as other publicly available information … I have concluded that the delay requested by the Philippines is not justified and that the investigation should be reopened as soon as possible. ‘, Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement.

Since Duterte came to power in 2016 until the end of April 2021, security forces have killed 6,117 drug traffickers in sting operations, according to the Philippine government.

Human rights groups say the authorities summarily executed drug suspects, but police say drug traffickers fought back violently.

Former ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who retired last year, said during her tenure there were reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity were committed during Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown, whose death toll sparked international outrage.

Duterte’s administration opposed the claims by human rights groups and the ICC investigation, saying the Philippines is no longer a member. Duterte canceled the Philippines’ membership in the founding treaty of the ICC in March 2018.

But under the ICC’s exit mechanism, the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the state’s membership—in this case, between 2016 and 2019, when the Philippines’ withdrawal became official.

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