ICC prosecutor suspends investigation into Philippines drug war

Activists join in in a rally die protests against an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on drugs, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Aug. 18, 2017. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao/File Photo

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  • Philippines requested suspension
  • Manila says it does its own research
  • lawyers group belt on ICC continues investigation
  • claims of existing justice mechanism absurd – Human Rights Watch

THE HAGUE/MANILA, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Court (ICC) has suspended an investigation into alleged human rights violations during the crackdown by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at Manila’s request on drugs.

ICC judges approved a ask questionsin September in the campaign in what thousands of suspected drug traffickers have died. Activists say many have been executed by law enforcement agencies with the tacit support of the president.

Philippine authorities say the murders were in self-defense and that the ICC has no right to interfere.

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Court Documents Released by the ICC and Confirmed by Philippine Officials on On Saturday it turned out that Manila has submitted the postponement request on Nov. 10, citing the country’s own investigation into drug war murders.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office has temporarily suspended its investigative activities while limiting the scope and effect of the postponement request,” wrote ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan, adding that it would seek additional information from the Philippines.

Governments can ask the ICC to defer a case if they conduct their own investigations and prosecutions for the same actions.

Duterte, 76, withdrew to the Philippines out of the ICC in 2018en has said that the international court has no jurisdiction to sue him. The ICC remains competent to investigate crimes die were committed while Manila was a member and up until 2019.

Manila’s request for the postponement follows repeated statements from the Duterte government that it wouldn’t cooperate with the ICC.

“We applaud the discretion of the new ICC Prosecutor who has deemed it appropriate to give the matter a fresh look, and we trust that the matter will be resolved in favor of the exemption of U.S government and the recognition of the liveliness of U.S justice system,” Karlo Nograles, Acting Spokesperson for Duterte said in a statement on Saturday.

A Filipino lawyers group called on the ICC not to remove the shine of heap for families of victims of the drug war.

“We ask the ICC not to do that” allow to be influenced by the claims themselves die now are: made by the Duterte government”, the National Union of People’s Lawyers, die represents the families of some victims, said: in a statement.

the Philippine justice system is “extremely slow and pointless for the majority” of poor and unrepresented victims,” ​​it said.

Human Rights Watch said the government’s claim that existing domestic mechanisms burgers to afford justice was absurd. “Let’s hope the ICC de list see through die it is,” Brad Adam, his Asia director, said in a statement.


the ICC decision is a boost for duterte, who launched this week a run for the Senate in elections next year. Under the constitution, he cannot be re-elected as president.

“It will of provide some relief in the raw elections”, political analyst Ramon Casiple, Vice President of advise and research firm Novo Trends PH, told Reuters. “But he can’t in enable to do” more after the election, especially if the incoming government chooses to work together with the ICC process.”

In its nearly two-decade existence, the ICC has spent five men for war crimes and crimes against humanity, all African Democratic Republic militia leaders of Congo, Mali and Uganda.

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Report by Stephanie van den Berg in The Hague and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, William Mallard and Jane Wardell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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