“This campaign (of) shoot-to-kill will remain until the last day of my term if I’m still alive by then.”
“I don’t care about human rights, believe me.”
“If a suspect draws out a gun, kill him. If he doesn’t, kill him anyway.”
These are words coming from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Since taking office in June 2016, the estimated body count has already risen to over 7000 killed by police and vigilantes encouraged by Duterte’s shoot-to-kill policy. Prisons are overcrowded with people turning themselves in for fear of getting killed. Duterte has waged a war on drugs with blatant disregard for people’s lives and human rights. Police and vigilantes are carrying out his orders and willfully ignoring people’s right to due process and a fair trial. Duterte is encouraging both police and civilians to kill anyone suspected of drug dealing or even drug use, resulting in the deaths of many people including those who were wrongfully accused, children, and innocent bystanders.
Since the Philippines is a signatory party to the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, or crimes of aggression committed within its territory. We are urging the International Criminal Court to investigate Duterte for his crimes against humanity, particularly for ordering and encouraging extrajudicial killings and summary executions while he was mayor of Davao City and now while serving as the president of the Philippines. The Philippine Senate has started an inquiry into these extrajudicial killings, but it is unable to conduct an effective and impartial investigation, with its members engaging in ad hominem attacks against each other and Senator Leila De Lima, who is a staunch Duterte critic, being ousted from her role as the head of the Senate’s justice committee and who is now fearing for her life. De Lima’s replacement, Senator Richard Gordon, is a Duterte supporter who has called for granting Duterte emergency powers to allow police and the military to make arrests without a warrant. The majority of the senators in the justice committee are supporters of the president himself, and this does not promise an unbiased look into the current situation the country is facing. Moreover, Duterte has threatened to declare martial law if the Philippine judiciary interferes with his war on drugs. The people of the Philippines deserve justice and for their right to life, liberty and security of person to be restored and not threatened. As an impartial body, we urge the International Criminal Court to investigate these killings and prosecute if necessary.