‘No compelling evidence’ to prove gov’t is serious in probe on Duterte’s drug war — HRW
MANILA, Philippines – The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday that it has found “no compelling evidence” to show that the state is thoroughly investigating the crimes against humanity purportedly committed by the erstwhile administration, particularly for its controversial war on drugs.
The group made this statement after the government’s lawyers earlier asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to deny the request of its chief prosecutor Karim Khan, seeking the resumption of the ICC probe on human rights violations allegedly committed during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
READ: PH gov’t asks ICC pre-trial chamber to deny request to resume ‘drug war,’ DDS probe
“Since the Philippines first sought a halt to the prosecutor’s investigation last November, HRW has monitored the situation and found no compelling evidence that the government was seriously investigating these cases, let alone prosecuting those responsible,” said HRW Philippines Senior Researcher Carlos Conde.
He further noted that the “killings are continuing and impunity for police officers and others implicated in these abuses by all accounts remains intact.”
Duterte, during his term, repeatedly refused to cooperate with the ICC’s investigation as he even declared in 2019 the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the international tribunal.
Following the footsteps of his predecessor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier revealed that the Philippines would not rejoin the ICC, arguing that there are already state-level investigations on the previous administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Based on the government’s Real Numbers data, at least 6,200 drug suspects were killed in official police operations as of May 2022. Human rights groups, however, believe this figure could be higher, citing deaths attributed to vigilantes and fights among drug dealers.
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