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Lawyer files ICC complaint against Philippines president over alleged death squad

[JURIST] Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio [personal Twitter] filed a complaint [text, PDF] Monday against Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte accusing him of extrajudicial killings during his nationwide anti-drugs crackdown. The 77-page complaint was filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] and asks the court to prosecute Duterte over his involvement in the Davao Death Squad [HRW backgrounder]. In an accompanying statement, Sabio accused the Duterte of "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committing extrajudicial executions from his term as Mayor of Davao City through to his current presidency. Sabio is asking the ICC [PhilStar report] to charge Duterte and 11 senior government officials with crimes against humanity and to issue an arrest warrant for them. Duterte has denied his involvement in the death squad and maintained that any killings of drug suspects were conducted within the bounds of the law.

Over 8,000 people have been killed since Duterte took office last year over drug-related offenses. Numerous rights groups have been critical of the killings and have spoken out against the current administration. Early in March Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report that accused the police of falsifying evidence [JURIST report] in relation to the alleged police killings of citizens. This policy of sanctioned killings has been part of Duterte's rhetoric since his time as mayor of Davao City. In December a UN Human rights chief called for a murder investigation [JURIST report] after Duterte admitted to killing people in his role as mayor. Duterte has seemed skeptical of the ICC , in November he suggested that the Philippines might leave [JURIST report] the international body.

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