ICC opens investigation into Duterte drug war, DDS killings
SEP 15, 2021 10:03 PM PHT

LIAN BUAN, RAPPLER
https://www.rappler.com/nation/international-criminal-court-opens-investigation-drug-war-philippines
MANILA, PHILIPPINES

(2nd UPDATE) The investigation is a crucial stage where summons and arrest warrants can be issued. The Palace says the decision ‘neither bothers nor troubles the President and his administration.’

The International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial chamber has opened the crucial investigation into the Philippine war on drugs, the court’s pre-trial chamber announced on Wednesday, September 15.

“For these reasons, the chamber hereby authorizes the commencement of the investigation into the Situation in the Philippines, in relation to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign,” said the pre-trial chamber 1 of the ICC.

This means the ICC will look not only at President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, but also at killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad when Duterte was mayor and vice mayor of Davao City.

The decision was signed by Judge Péter Kovács, Presiding Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou, and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera.

The investigation is a crucial stage where summons and arrest warrants can be issued if Prosecutor Karim Khan asks for them.

“On the basis of the above, the Chamber concludes that there is a reasonable basis for the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation, in the sense that the crime against humanity of murder appears to have been committed, and that potential case(s) arising from such investigation appear to fall within the Court’s jurisdiction,” said the judges.

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Once again, the pre-trial chamber took into account Duterte’s statements, saying: “President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly encouraged extrajudicial killings in a way that is incompatible with a genuine law enforcement operation.”

Experts whom Rappler have talked to said that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) would like to take its time and tighten its case before requesting for summons and arrest warrants. Whoever the summons and arrest warrants are requested against will be assumed to be the ones who will be put on trial.

President Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Thursday, September 16, said the ICC chamber’s decision “neither bothers nor troubles the President and his administration.”