Statements and Urgent Actions

CHRP letter to ICC prosecutor re: suspension of investigation into crimes against humanity by Duterte

Dear Prosecutor Karim Khan

I am writing to you on behalf of the UK-based Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP) to express our concern at the temporary suspension of the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into crimes against humanity committed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines.

We understand that this suspension has taken place following a request received from the Philippines Government for the ICC to stop its investigation altogether. The Philippines Government has claimed that it is conducting its own investigations into these crimes and also that the victims in the drug killings were in most cases the result of police officers having to defend themselves.

We are sure that the ICC is well aware of the multiple accounts from victims, which have been painstakingly collected by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, InvestigatePH and other human rights organisations, about the practices of the Philippines National Police in fabricating evidence, planting weapons and providing false statements.

We are sure you will also be aware of the failure of the Philippines police to investigate the thousands of police killings that have taken place during the so-called “war against drugs”. The US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has reported regularly on the lack of any investigations by the armed forces Human Rights Office, noting for example that in 2020, “From January through October, no extrajudicial killings, murders, or forced disappearances were identified or investigated by the office.” 

President Duterte is on record on numerous occasions assuring his police of their immunity. When the ICC announced it was considering an investigation he withdrew the country from the ICC in the belief that this would provide immunity for himself.

We urge the ICC to continue its investigation into “any alleged crime within the jurisdiction of the Court, including but not limited to the crime against humanity of murder, committed in the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called war on drugs campaign” and continue to to collect evidence and build the case against the Duterte government of crimes against humanity.

It is not only victims who are looking to the ICC for justice when there is no domestic redress against a president who openly incites murder and promises immunity, it is all those in the country and the wider world with a concern for fundamental human rights.

Yours sincerely

Secretary,

Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines