Karapatan on the ICC-OTP Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2020 on the Philippines

The International Criminal Court - Office of the Prosecutor’s (ICC-OTP) finding in its report on preliminary examination activities that, with its available information, there is “a reasonable basis to believe that the crimes against humanity of murder, torture, infliction of serious physical injury and mental harm as other inhumane acts” are being committed in the Philippine government’s sham and bloody drug war is another damning indictment of the Duterte administration’s murderous policies. We welcome this significant development and its implications on what can only be described as a rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis in the Philippines. We look forward to the ICC-OTP’s conclusion of its preliminary examination and on the possibility of an investigation into the situation in the Philippines next year.

From the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights report last June which detailed persistent impunity for human rights violations as well as the European Parliament resolutions, several reports of UN Special Procedures and independent human rights organizations, the findings of international bodies have been consistent and unequivocal in their repudiation and condemnation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-people and deadly campaigns as well as his violent rhetoric which has fueled if not directly facilitated widespread killings of the poor along with the worsening attacks, harassment, and cold-blooded murders of human rights defenders, journalists, and government critics — which the ICC-OTP is now also closely monitoring.

The day of reckoning is coming nearer for Duterte’s reign of terror. As we await the decision of the Office of the Prosecutor, we press our calls for justice for the Duterte administration’s brutal crimes against the Filipino people. We call on the ICC and other human rights bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council to pursue its investigation into the human rights crisis in the Philippines, and we strongly hope that accountability can be achieved as soon as possible. ###

* Report available here: https://www.icc-cpi.int/itemsDocuments/2020-PE/2020-pe-report-eng.pdf