Duterte admin downplayed possible ICC war on drugs probe

He said President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed the evidence gathered by former International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda regarding the war on drugs in the Philippines.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, only media reports are the basis that will not be accepted in any court.

“We are confident. Even if magpatuloy pa iyan sa imbestigasyon eh ang sinasabi ko nga kung puro galing naman sa media ang gagamiting sources at makakaliwang grupo, hindi po iyan tatayo,” said Roque.

But Bensouda herself said in her last statement before the end of her term, they have preserved evidence.

“I must stress that the Philippines preliminary examination has been at an advance stage now for over a year, well before the December announcements. There were, however, some concrete evidence preservation opportunities related to the Philippines situation, which we felt it was our responsibility to pursue,” said Bensouda.

Bensouda first made sure that they were protected before asking permission to continue investigating the war on drugs and disclosing it to the public.

Duterte admin downplayed possible ICC war on drugs probe

For Human Rights Watch, now is not the time to discuss whether the evidence is hearsay because there will be an investigation.

But even now, Duterte’s statements urging the killing of drug users can be used to show that the government has such a policy.

“These statements are highly relevant to show this policy that exists. Now whether or not it’s sufficient to show individual culpability, again, that’s a question for the prosecutor to determine, and the evidence has to tell the story,” said HRW International Justice Program Associate Director Param-Preet Singh.

On the other hand, forensic pathologist Raquel thinks it will be helpful to at the results of the autopsy reports to see if the victims of the war on drugs were killed on purpose.

“If you see multiple gunshot wounds, then the intent to really finish off, to really kill, is there. If they aim for the chest, you’re going to kill people that way, vital organs are there. You aim for the head, you don’t intend for these people to survive,” she said.

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