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Human Rights Watch welcomes ICC decision to resume probe into drug war killings

Human Rights Watch on Monday released a “question-and-answer document” on the decision

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday, February 13, issued a statement welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to resume its probe into the drug-related killings in the Philippines.

“The ICC judges’ decision to greenlight the prosecutor’s resumption of the Philippines investigation is a step toward justice for the thousands of victims of [former president Rodrigo] Duterte’s murderous ‘drug war,’” said Carlos Conde, senior Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Conde said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “should recognize the suffering of the victims’ families and cooperate with the ICC investigation so that justice can be done.”

A three-judge panel of the ICC decided on January 26 to authorize the court’s prosecutor to resume his investigation in the Philippines, advancing accountability for extrajudicial killings in the country.

Human Rights Watch on Monday released a “question-and-answer document” on the decision. The Philippine government appealed the decision on February 3.

The ICC investigation in the Philippines covers alleged crimes committed from November 2011 to June 2016, including the large number of extrajudicial killings in Davao City while Duterte was its mayor.

The investigation also covers the killings throughout the country during Duterte’s presidency up until March 16, 2019, a day before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, took effect.

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In their January 26 decision, the ICC judges concluded that the Philippine government failed to demonstrate that it took sufficient action to investigate and prosecute the killings during President Duterte’s administration.

The question-and-answer document provides background on the ICC investigation and discusses the key elements of the judges’ decision, as well as next steps in the proceedings.

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