ICC suspends drugs war investigation into Philippines’ Duterte

Image copyright AFP Image caption Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In January, he signed an executive order declaring his drugs war a success The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that it will suspend…

ICC suspends drugs war investigation into Philippines' Duterte

Image copyright AFP Image caption Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In January, he signed an executive order declaring his drugs war a success

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that it will suspend its investigation into the drug war under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte because there was not enough evidence.

The ICC prosecutor said there was no case to be brought and that she was willing to re-open the investigation at a later date.

Mr Duterte has been accused of inciting his police forces to kill thousands of drug suspects.

In January, he signed an executive order declaring his drugs war a success.

“My mandate is to ensure that the ICC’s actions contribute to universal justice and accountability,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.

“But based on the evidence available today, my office has not found a case to be filed against the Government of the Philippines before the ICC.”

‘No shred of evidence’

The ICC prosecutor said she had already been given “contradictory” evidence, such as the suggestion that Mr Duterte is not directly linked to the deaths of people being killed by police.

She also said that she had received allegations of other crimes committed under the martial law imposed in the southern island of Mindanao on 23 May.

He had been due to address the parliament and make his first public speech since the declaration of martial law as a result of a deadly siege by Islamist militants in Marawi city.

‘Did not agree to boycott ICC’

Mr Duterte said he had signed the order after repeated requests.

“They are saying ‘President, what about the Mindanao government? What about the city of Marawi?’ I said to them: If you give me a strike-force to deal with the problem, I’m ready to do it,” he told CNN Philippines.

“I will not surrender to the ICC. I’m not afraid of the ICC. I will defend the Filipino people, the Constitution and the Executive Office.”

The ICC says it will only investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes if it has solid evidence and finds a national justice system is unable or unwilling to try the cases.

The pro-Duterte newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer published a list of corruption allegations against Ms Bensouda in November 2016.

However, the ICC said: “Our mandate only allows the prosecutor to seek a court order or take the prosecutor to court for contempt of court. The prosecutor has not agreed to any of the allegations made in the listed news articles.”

The Philippines has been repeatedly accused of widespread human rights abuses in its fight against drugs.

The UN Human Rights Council last week accused both Mr Duterte and the police of “systematic” and “grossly disproportionate” killings of drug suspects.

Mr Duterte was also present at the meeting of Asian leaders in China, where he accused the US and the Philippines of being hypocrites.

“If we really cared about human rights, we would ask for a visit from the (UN) High Commissioner (Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein),” he said.

“He is the human rights spokesman, but then what are the human rights of Koreans, the Vietnamese? The Philippines should not be accused for some human rights. It is not ours.”

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