Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte [CNN profile] said Sunday he would not be intimidated by a potential criminal trial at the hands of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], vowing that the country’s war on drugs would continue. Speaking [text] to reporters before he departed for Myanmar, the President was adamant in his defense of the country’s stance on drugs. The president said “I will not be intimidated and I shall not be stopped just by what? International Criminal Court? Impeachment? If that is part of my destiny, it is my destiny to go.” Duterte has not backed down from the numerous international organizations condemning the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers and users. Duterte has also condemned such actions saying he’d never “condone the killing of a criminal person arrested with outstretched arms, begging for his life, or what is popularly known as extrajudicial killings.” This comes as a former member of an alleged “death squad” is expected to file a case against Duterte with the ICC.
Over 8,000 people have been killed in the past year since Duterte took office related to the crackdown against drugs in the country. Numerous rights groups have been critical of the killings and have spoken out against the current administration. Early in March the 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 is time serving as mayor of Davao. 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 before, in November he suggested that the Philippines might leave [JURIST report] the international body.