MANILA—Amnesty International lauded the International Criminal Court's decision to investigate the situation in the Philippines.
In a statement, Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said outgoing International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request for judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation is a "moment of hope for thousands of families in the Philippines who are grieving those lost to the government’s so-called war on drugs."
"This is a much-awaited step in putting murderous incitement by President Duterte and his administration to an end,” Callamard said.
"The ICC’s intervention must end this cycle of impunity in the country and send a signal to the police and those with links to the police who continue to carry out or sanction these killings that they cannot escape being held accountable for the crimes they commit."
Bensouda on Monday announced that the preliminary examination into the situation in the Philippines has concluded, and she has requested the authorization to continue with an investigation.
Bensouda said the extrajudicial killings in the country “appear to have been committed pursuant to an official State policy of the Philippine government.”
Callamard said the ICC investigation is a crucial step for justice to be served, saying: "State-sanctioned killing and incitement to violence by government officials has become the norm under the Duterte administration. Considering the Philippine government’s role in these ceaseless killings and the absolute impunity which prevails in the country, the ICC investigation is a crucial step for justice to move forward.
"All states must offer their full cooperation to the ICC Prosecutor’s office so that an investigation can proceed as quickly as possible. The Philippines authorities, human rights groups and other relevant actors must ensure evidence is preserved and the Court must ensure the protection of those who may assist the investigation."
Since being the United Nations special rapporteur, Callamard has been a staunch critic of the Duterte administration's drug war.
Duterte had threatened to slap Callamard if she investigated him for the alleged extrajudicial killings under his administration's war on drugs.
FROM THE ARCHIVES