The International Criminal Court has started a ‘preliminary examination’ of complaints filed against President Duterte for crimes against humanity and murder.
In a letter dated April 4, the Hague court’s Office of the Prosecutor told the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) that it has started look at the complaint it filed against the president last August.
“It appears that your communication relates to a situation already under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor,” the letter read, which was made public today (Friday, April 5).
“Accordingly, your communication will be analysed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information.
“Analysis will be carried out as expeditiously as possible; but the meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time.”
Last August, activists and the families of eight victims of the president’s war on drugs, who were represented by the NUPL, filed a 50-page complaint before the ICC.
It was the second petition that accused the president of murder and crimes against humanity in relation to the drug war.
The first was filed by lawyer Jude Sabio in April 2017, citing the “continuing mass murder” in the Philippines as shown by the thousands of Filipinos killed in the anti-criminality and anti-drug campaigns that began when the president was still mayor of Davao City.
The ICC began a preliminary examination on this complaint in February last year.
NUPL lawyer Edre Olalia said the second complaint would be consolidated with the Sabio complaint as it was already under preliminary examination.
The president insists that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him, arguing that the Rome Statute was not enforceable in the Philippines because it was not published in a government publication or any newspaper of national circulation.
He has also threatened to arrest ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda if she sets foot in the country.
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