Amnesty International called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to begin an investigation into the crimes against humanity, including the deaths of approximately 60 children, committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent "war on drugs," according to Amnesty International.
"It is time for international justice mechanisms to step in and end the carnage on Philippine streets by bringing the perpetrators to justice. The country’s judiciary and police have proven themselves both unwilling and unable to hold the killers in the ‘war on drugs’ to account,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said in a news release.
"The ICC must open a preliminary examination into the situation and cast its net widely. Responsibility is not just limited to those pulling the trigger, but also those who order or encourage murders and other crimes against humanity."
Thousands of people have been killed in the Phillippines in anti-drug operations since Duterte took office in June 2016. In October 2017, Duterte ordered Philippine police to end all anti-war operations, leaving the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in charge.
Amnesty International reports:
An Amnesty International research team witnessed how large numbers of children suspected of drug-related offences were kept in overcrowded and unsanitary holding centres for minors in the capital, Manila. Some said they had been beaten and tortured by police on their arrest, and claimed police had framed them by forcing them to pose in photographs with drugs that had been planted.
The killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in August sparked a national outcry. Police claimed Kian had been shot in self-defence, but CCTV footage and eyewitness testimony showed how plainclothes officers dragged away the unarmed teenager and shot him dead in an alleyway.
“How many bullet-riddled bodies must be found dumped on the streets before the international community takes action?” said Gomez. “The ICC must act now. We believe the “war on drugs” meets the threshold of crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute, and international pressure is needed to persuade the Philippine authorities to change course.”
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