The International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial chamber has authorized an investigation into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs on the back of the “crime against humanity of murder” that judges say may have been committed.
In a 41-page decision released Wednesday (Sept. 15), the chamber gave the go signal for a probe to be conducted into the Philippines in relation to the crimes allegedly committed in the country between November 1, 2011 and March 16, 2019 “in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign.”
This means the investigation will also cover the killings allegedly committed by the so-called Davao Death Squad when Duterte was mayor of Davao City.
“On the basis of the above, the Chamber concludes that there is a reasonable basis for the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation, in the sense that the crime against humanity of murder appears to have been committed, and that potential case(s) arising from such investigation appear to fall within the Court’s jurisdiction,” the ICC chamber said.
With the pre-trial chamber giving its nod, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan can now send investigators to collect evidence in areas where crimes have supposedly been committed.
According to a primer on the ICC, the investigators “look for evidence of a suspect’s guilt or innocence.”
Khan can also request the ICC chamber to issue an arrest warrant or summons to appear “if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person concerned has committed a crime within the ICC’s jurisdiction.”
Duterte has repeatedly said he will not cooperate with the ICC’s investigation.
In March 2018, the President announced the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC.
He made the decision a month after the tribunal started its “preliminary examination” of the complaint filed against him in connection with the killings that happened in the course of the bloody drug war that started in 2016.