HRW to police involved in EJKs: Duterte can’t protect you
An international human rights organization has warned members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who may believe that President Rodrigo Duterte will protect them from prosecution.
“President Duterte has ordered and instigated and incited these killings,” Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director, told INQUIRER.net before the group’s 124-page report on the drug war was released on Thursday.
“He (Duterte) and the people around him are personally, criminally liable for these crimes, which may amount to crimes against humanity,” said Bouckaert, who travelled to the Philippines in November and January to investigate some of the summary killings connected to the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“It’s also very important for police chiefs and for those involved in this campaign of killing to understand that President Duterte cannot protect them from criminal liability for these crimes,” he said.
The report, which detailed Duterte’s statements encouraging the killing of drug suspects and the actual cases that involved testimonies of fabricated police reports and planting of evidence, claimed that drug-related killings appear “systematic” given the “repeated, unchanging, and continuous nature of the violence used by the police.”
Among the quotes included was Duterte saying in August that “They (police) will never go to prison — not under my watch.”
“Police and military personnel in the Philippines have long enjoyed impunity from prosecution for serious abuses at the expense of human rights,” the HRW report said.
It admitted that a President can make prosecution “difficult or impossible” but “doing so would be contrary to prosecutorial independence and undermine respect for the rule of law in the Philippines.”
However, it also pointed out that the provision of immunity or the failure to prosecute those implicated in serious crimes “(has) no bearing internationally.”
“Foreign courts acting on the basis of universal jurisdiction or international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, are in no way bound by domestic grants of immunity, and may prosecute protected wrongdoers as well as officials implicated on grounds of superior responsibility,” the report said./rga
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