The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday temporarily suspended its investigation into suspected abuses committed by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during his crackdown on drugs.
In February 2018, the ICC authorized a preliminary probe into alleged rights abuses committed by President Duterte as a result of a complaint filed with the court accusing the President of making killing his primary form of deterrence. Then, in September 2021, the ICC began a full probe into President Duterte’s “war on drugs” campaign. The ICC said it had found sufficient reason to believe that crimes against humanity were being committed by President Duterte’s administration as a result of his crackdown.
However, following the ICC’s announcement, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya requested a deferral of the probe, adding that the Philippine government was investigating the alleged abuses. Thus, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced that the prosecution would suspend its investigative activities as it looked into the deferral request. Khan added that they would seek additional information from the Philippine government. “The prosecution has temporarily suspended its investigative activities while it assesses the scope and effect of the deferral request.” Nevertheless, despite making this request, Ambassador Malaya claims that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the matter.
According to official data, at least 6,181 people have been killed in more than 200,000 anti-drug operations since July 2016. ICC prosecutors estimate the figure of deaths to be between 12,000 and 30,000.