Drug suspect fighting back? 'Immobilize' first, says rights advocate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2019 09:50 AM

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MANILA - Drug suspects must be immobilized instead of being killed when resisting arrest, a rights advocate said Tuesday.

Policemen should use force only in self-defense during anti-drug operations, said Aurora Parong, co-chair of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

Parong issued the statement on Human Rights Day, which marks the day the UN General Assembly adopted the universal declaration of human rights, a landmark document outlining a person’s inalienable rights. 

"Even if a suspect fights back, there has to be first immobilization. The use of force cannot just be used and kill people," she told ANC's Early Edition.

"From the many cases that have been looked into by human rights groups, it seems it’s not just one bullet. It’s not in the hands, which would be holding the gun, or in the feet, so you can immobilize."

Parong called for police investigations into drug war-related killings, which authorities estimate at around 5,000 but human rights groups said it could reach more than 27,000.

Parong said crimes against humanity complaints against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court may proceed under the Rome Statute's complementarity principle.

The principle states that the ICC can "only investigate and prosecute core international crimes when national jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to do so genuinely."

"Even if it takes 3 or several years, if there’s no justice locally I think it will proceed," Parong said.

The Philippines formally withdrew from the ICC in 2018 after the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal launched a preliminary examination against alleged abuses in Duterte's drug war. 

The motion took effect in March this year.

The President has insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.