Bangkok, Jun 15 (EFE).- Amnesty International (AI) said on Tuesday that a request by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Philippine government for crimes against humanity during its “war against drugs” must end “impunity” in the country.
“The ICC’s intervention must end this cycle of impunity in the country and send a signal to the police and those with links to the police who continue to carry out or sanction these killings that they cannot escape being held accountable for the crimes they commit,” Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said in a statement.
Callamard described the ICC’s announcement as “a moment of hope for thousands of families in the Philippines who are grieving those lost to the government’s so-called ‘war on drugs'” and said that it represents “a much-awaited step in putting murderous incitement by President (Rodrigo) Duterte and his administration to an end.”
AI’s secretary general said that “state-sanctioned killing and incitement to violence by government officials has become the norm under the Duterte administration.”
On Monday, ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that “the available information indicates that members of the Philippine National Police, and others acting in concert with them, have unlawfully killed between several thousand and tens of thousands of civilians during that time.”
The 57-page request for an investigation into the situation in the Philippines says that “extrajudicial killings, perpetrated across the Philippines, appear to have been committed pursuant to an official State policy of the Philippine government.”
The request must now be reviewed by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber, composed of three judges, who could take weeks or months to authorize or reject it.
If the investigation is authorized, the Office of the Prosecutor would have the power to directly collect additional evidence, contact potential witnesses and, eventually, request arrest warrants.
However, investigators would not be able to enter the Philippines if the government denies them entry. EFE