2 Philippine Lawmakers Take Complaint Against Duterte to International Court

Felipe Villamor
170606-PH-impeach-620.jpg Philippine Sen. Antonio Trillanes, one of two lawmakers who brought a complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court, is shown during a senate hearing in Manila, Sept. 15, 2016.

Two Philippine opposition politicians on Tuesday brought a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands against President Rodrigo Duterte over thousands of killings allegedly carried out during his administration’s war on drugs.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Rep. Gary Alejano filed their 45-page supplemental complaint with the ICC’s prosecutor in The Hague more than two weeks after the Philippine chief executive challenged them to take their allegations of mass murder to the U.N.-run tribunal.

Their filing adds to a case already filed by Jude Sabio, a Filipino lawyer who earlier charged Duterte with committing “mass murder or extra-judicial executions constituting crimes against humanity.”

“The case of crimes against humanity against Duterte is very solid. He repeatedly, explicitly and clearly pronounced a national policy of killing drug suspects and the (police) executed it,” Trillanes said in a statement.

Their complaint includes a list of killings that transpired after Sabio filed his case on April 24 against Duterte including “relevant incidents which prove that the killings happening around the country are being done systematically.”

Trillanes argued that the killings were carried out in the guise of “legitimate” police operations, or through police-backed, vigilante-style executions.

Alejano said they had no other recourse but to file with the ICC after Congress swiftly threw out an impeachment complaint he had brought against Duterte earlier this year. Alejano said this proved that “our government is unwilling and unable to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes.

“Therefore, there is still a continuing veil of impunity which enables the carrying out of state-sponsored killings. It is in this regard that we are calling on the ICC to intervene and conduct preliminary examination of the situation in the country in order to prevent further extra-judicial killings and render justice in the country,” Alejano said.

Last month, Duterte dared his political foes to take their complaint of mass murder to the ICC, arguing his critics were being taken “for a ride a thousand times over” if they believed he had ordered the killings.

Describing Alejano’s impeachment complaint as lacking in substance, the 292-member House of Representatives, controlled by Duterte’s allies, dismissed it.

This effectively gave the 72-year-old leader enough time to consolidate support from allies because congress is allowed to tackle only one impeachment case within a year.

Thousands of alleged addicts and drug peddlers have been killed since Duterte became president last year. The police admit to having killed at least 2,700 people in anti-narcotics raids.

But police said they were investigating about 5,700 drug-related deaths, including ones blamed on vigilantes. The police insist that vigilante-killings could be attributed to warring gangs trying to purge their ranks.


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