Duterte says the Philippines will prosecute drug war crimes
Bangkok Desk, Sep 22 (EFE).- The president of the Philippines said on Wednesday (Manila time) that those who “have acted beyond bounds” during police operations shall be held accountable according to the country’s laws, a week after the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it will investigate his war on drugs.
In a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, Rodrigo Duterte said that he has instructed the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police to review the conduct of the authorities during the anti-drugs campaign that he launched upon his arrival to power in 2016 and that has claimed the lives of least 6,181 people.
“The law applies to all (…) Those found to have acted beyond bounds during operations shall be made accountable before our laws,” said the president, who spent much of his speech criticizing the UN and the imposition of norms on other countries.
Duterte, who did not mention the ICC probe directly, said that “meaningful change, to be enduring, must come from within,” adding that “the imposition of one’s will over another – no matter how noble the intent – has never worked in the past. And it never will in the future.”
“How many more countries shall be made to unravel and descend into chaos before the powerful heed this simple lesson?” he asked.
This allegation of interference by the UN and other international organizations in the affairs of other countries comes a week after the Philippines government announced that it would not cooperate with the ICC in its investigation and would deny entry to its members “because they have no jurisdiction.”
The rejection came after a pre-trial panel of three judges authorized the investigation into the Philippines’ war on drugs for alleged crimes against humanity, saying “there is a reasonable basis.”
According to the magistrates, there are indications that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Philippines and that “the possible cases derived from said investigation appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court.”
In February, the Philippines police said they were investigating the killings committed during the campaign after the Department of Justice admitted police culpability in the drug war to the UN.
According to government data, at least 6,181 were killed during police operations between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2021, but human rights groups believe that the number is between 27,000 and 30,000. EFE