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International court mulls prosecuting Duterte

BANGKOK (SE): The International Criminal Court in The Hague has bluntly warned the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, that he could face prosecution over extrajudicial killings in his deadly crackdown on drugs, Fairfax Media reports.

The chief prosecutor of the international court, Fatou Bensouda, said she is deeply concerned about the thousands of alleged killings in The Philippines and statements by high officials who seem to condone such killings.

“Any person in The Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any manner to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the (court) is potentially liable to prosecution before the court,” Fairfax quoted the prosecutor from the International Criminal Court as saying.

The report points out that The Philippines is a member state of the court in The Hague, which has the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Human rights lawyers say comments by Duterte such as, “All of you are into drugs, you sons of bitches… I will kill you,” could be used as evidence to prosecute him.

Duterte has also said, “My order is to shoot to kill. I don’t care about human rights… this is a war against drugs and we have to fight it.”

Investigations by Fairfax Media and other organisations have revealed evidence of targeted assassinations on the country’s streets, where an average of 36 people a day are being murdered.

Bensouda said in a statement that her office would closely monitor developments in The Philippines over coming weeks with a view to establishing whether she would open a preliminary investigation.

The prosecutors from the court have the power to request the judges of the international court in The Hague to authorise an investigation that could lead to an eventual trial.

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