ICC okays probe into Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’

The International Criminal Court on Wednesday,September 15, approved the conduct of a full investigation into crimes against humanity during the Philippines’ so-called “war on drugs” under Philipine President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the ICC said its judges “found there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, noting the specific element of the crime against humanity of murder.”

Set up in 2002, the ICC is a so-called court of last resort and only becomes involved in probing the world’s worst crimes if its member states are unable or unwilling to do so.

The ICC handed down its decision even as Manila left the court in 2019 following a preliminary probe into Duterte’s crackdown claimed by human rights groups to have killed thousands of civilians.

But the judges said that even though the Philippines had withdrawn as a state party to the court, the alleged crimes took place while Manila was still a signature to the court’s Rome Statute, so it could still probe them. The probe will cover the period from 2011 to 2019.

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