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UN rights chief urges murder investigation of Philippines president

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] called Tuesday for a murder investigation [press release] of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte after Duterte admitted to killing people while he served as mayor of Davao. Duterte said last week that he had personally patrolled the streets of Davao on his motorcycle and had killed about three [BBC report] suspected criminals, encouraging others to do the same. Zeid said that such acts violate the Philippines constitution as well as international law and called for a full investigation:

The Philippines judicial authorities must demonstrate their commitment to upholding the rule of law and their independence from the executive by launching a murder investigation. The killings committed by Mr. Duterte, by his own admission, at a time when he was a mayor, clearly constitute murder. It should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted being a killer.
Zeid also urged an investigation into the killings that have occurred across the country since Duterte became president in June.

During his campaign, Duterte said that 100,000 people would die [Guardian report] in his crackdown on crime. Since Duterte has taken office, more than 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed and 600,000 have surrendered to the police. In October the International Criminal Court [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] over the rising occurrence of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines in connection with the ongoing war on drugs. In September Duterte declared a "state of lawlessness" [JURIST report] in the Philippines, which would allow police and military personnel to frisk individuals and search cars. In August Duterte named [JURIST report] 150 serving and former state officials connected to the nation's illegal drug trade and ordered them to either surrender to the authorities or risk being hunted down. Duterte has stated that he disregards criticisms from the UN and human rights groups. Also in August Duterte threatened to withdraw [JURIST report] the country from the UN following criticisms against his controversial crackdown on illegal drugs.

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