Mr. Duterte’s lawyer said on Thursday that representatives of the International Criminal Court would be denied entry to the Philippines, a day after the Hague-based tribunal authorised a full investigation into Mr. Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. The statement came after the International Criminal Court authorised a full investigation into Mr. Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
According to a committee of three justices in the court, the anti-drug campaign, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds, seemed to be a “widespread and organised assault on the general population” on Wednesday. This was determined on the basis of evidence provided by prosecutors who have been conducting preliminary investigations since the beginning of 2018.
Earlier on Thursday, Duterte’s lawyer Salvador Panelo reaffirmed the president’s stance by stating that the court lacked the jurisdiction to probe him. A preliminary inquiry was launched by the Philippines and led to Duterte’s withdrawal of his country from the treaty that created the arbitral tribunal.
Since Mr. Duterte assumed office in 2016, according to the national police, his officers have murdered at least 8,000 individuals suspected of being drug dealers or users. Mr. Duterte ran for president on a platform of filling Manila Bay with the corpses of drug traffickers.
Although the court’s decision was warmly received, Philippine rights organisations claim that even this figure understates the real toll of the drug war, and that many more have been killed by pro-government vigilantes in the country’s drug war.
As part of its investigation, the I.C.C. said it would look into murders that occurred in the city of Davao when Mr. Duterte was its mayor, before he was elected president. In that country, he has been accused of leading a murder squad that killed political opponents and drug traffickers as well as suspected addicts and drug users. The period under examination by the court will be from November 2011 to March 2019, when the Philippines officially withdrew from the International Criminal Court treaty.
“According to the facts as they emerge at this stage, and subject to proper investigation and further analysis, the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation, and the killings cannot be seen as either legitimate or mere excesses in an otherwise legitimate operation,” the court stated in a statement.