Judges of the International Criminal Court have authorized an investigation into the Philippines’ deadly “war on drugs” campaign, saying the crackdown “cannot be considered a legitimate law enforcement operation.”
Former court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda earlier this year requested permission from judges to investigate the Philippine government’s campaign.
She said that a preliminary investigation she started in February 2018 found “a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder was committed” in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019, date on which the Philippines withdrew from the search.
In a written decision, judges who considered Bensouda’s claim found a “reasonable basis to open an investigation” into murders committed across the Philippines in the war on drugs, saying they appeared constitute a crime against humanity under the founding statute of the court. .
The court said in a statement that the judges had ruled that “on the basis of the facts as they stand at the present stage and subject to proper investigation and further analysis, the so-called campaign of “War on drugs” cannot be considered legitimate law enforcement. operation, and the murders neither as legitimate nor as mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation. “
They added that “the available evidence indicates, to the extent required, that a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population has taken place in application of or in favor of a State policy”.
When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was withdrawing his country from court, he defended the campaign as being “legally directed against the drug lords and traffickers who have for many years destroyed the current generation, in particular the youth “.