French slap down Duterte’s claim their legal system presumes guilt

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French legal system
The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights Agnes Callamard felt the rough side of Duterte’s tongue again today

The French Embassy said today (Wednesday, August 30) that President Duterte was wrong when he claimed the French legal system presumed a person guilty until proven innocent.

“We have to point out that, as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system. This is based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of August 26, 1789,” the statement said.

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“France strongly believes in the importance of the rule of law, due process and respect for human rights in all countries, including the Philippines,” it added.

On Monday, the president ranted against UN rights expert Agnes Callamard, who said the death of a 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos should be the last in the war on drugs.

In an expletive-filled reply to a reporter’s question, the president said Callamard should not to lecture him.

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“Daughter of a whore, tell her!” he said. “Don’t she dare scare me, daughter of a whore. She’s an idiot! Where is that crazy person from?”

Upon learning she was French, Duterte said people in France were presumed guilty unless proven innocent.

“Even in her own place, that happens. She’s an idiot,” Duterte said.

“In their place, they can detain a person almost indefinitely under the French law. And the French law says you are guilty and you have to prove your innocence. That’s how it works.”

‘Human rights crisis’

Callamard, a vocal critic of the widespread drug killings, said delos Santos was the “latest symbol of a massive, government-led, human rights crisis.” She cited an autopsy report that showed he was shot at least twice in the head.

Murder complaints were filed on Friday against police officers in connection with the shooting.

The student, who wanted to become a policeman, was one of more than 80 drug and crime suspects killed over three days recently. Police chiefs maintain all of the deaths followed shootouts, despite the fact that no officers were injured.

Since the president came to office 14 months ago, anti-drug police have reported killing about 3,500.

More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes. Thousands more have been murdered in unexplained circumstances.

The UN, the US and the EU have condemned alleged rights abuses. Meanwhile, human rights groups have warned he may be orchestrating a crime against humanity.

Duterte said last year he would be “happy to slaughter” three million addicts to fix the drug problem.

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