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Accountability looms for Duterte and his war on drugs

  A woman cradles the lifeless body of her partner at a crime scene in Manila. (Photo by Basilio Sepe)

Thursday, 16 September 2021

The decision of the Pre Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court to allow the Office of the Prosecutor to proceed with formally investigating the Philippine situation removes all doubt as to the gravity of the crimes committed by President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. Duterte along with his co-accused henchmen of the war on drugs will be facing justice, and the relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings and other atrocious human rights violations would have a real chance of regaining their dignity.

The decision was also aided by the overwhelming support of the victims toward the request of the Prosecutor, proving that they do not trust the justice system in the Philippines to exact due accountability for the tens of thousands of summary killings, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and sexual assault of Filipino citizens.

The President’s war on drugs and war on terror has now resulted in more killings amidst a global pandemic, with no sign of relenting, as budgets for the government’s anti-terrorism measures have increased. Not only will government refuse to cooperate with the ICC, it goes full steam ahead with its gruesome campaign of killing.

iDEFEND welcomes the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber and fully support all efforts of the Prosecutor to build its case against Duterte. At this point it is in the best interest of the government to fully cooperate with the ICC, to avoid any perception that it is shielding a criminal from international justice.