Monday, 14 June 2021
Quezon City. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) welcomes the outgoing ICC Prosecutor Bensouda's request before the Pre-Trial Chamber, to proceed to investigate the situation in the Philippine in relation to serious international crimes perpetrated during the government's war on drugs. The Prosecutor's request recognizes the urgency of the situation where extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and torture, including those of children and minors, continue to be perpetrated with institutionalized impunity. The Philippines has withdrawn from the ICC in 2019 in hopes of shielding the highest officials of the land from criminal liability. However the Prosecutor correctly pointed out that ICC jurisdiction over these crimes remains.
"It is another step closer to exacting accountability from this government which has caused much suffering to the victims' families and communities, who continue to be reluctant to engage domestic mechanisms for fear of reprisal from authorities. Duterte's brutal war on drugs normalized violence in our society and terrorized the population into silence. He must be held liable along with the police and military leadership that implemented the bloody campaign," said Judy Pasimio, spokesperson of iDEFEND.
The group appealed for prompt approval of the request by the Pre-Trial Chamber. It also called on the government to acknowledge the intention of the Prosecutor, cooperate with the investigation process and ensure the protection of affected applicants (victims). The group is also preparing for any potential engagement with the Court in the event of a full trial.
Photo by: International Criminal Court