Rodrigo Duterte (Photograph: Presidential Communications Operations Office)
Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has asserted that he will never be tried for human rights violation he is accused of during his war on drugs and vowed to see his crackdown through “to the very end”.
This statement follows the UN Human Rights Councils approval of a resolution to investigate the mass killings in the Philippines. This was initiated by a call for an investigation by 11 UN experts who were concerned over the “staggering” amounts of deaths.
Speaking on a televised interview last Tuesday, he claimed that it is “stupid” to image that he would face an international court:
“I will only face, be tried or face a trial, in a Philippine court. Presided by a Filipino judge. Prosecuted by a Filipino ... I will not answer a Caucasian, asking questions, white man there. You must be stupid,”
“I am a Filipino. We have our courts here... S***. You have to bring me somewhere else? I would not like that. I have my country. It’s working. I know it’s working. Justice is working here.”
The Philippine government have rejected the resolution and denied allegations of police executing drug users and paddlers. Instead, they maintain that these accusations are from biased Western states.
In February 2018 ICC prosecutors announced a preliminary investigation into the mass killings. Duterte subsequently ordered the police to not cooperate with the ICC and revoked Philippines membership in the organisation. The ICC has persisted despite Philippines withdrawal.
Human Rights Watch report that since Duterte took office in June 2016, over 12,000 Filipinos have been killed in his “war on drugs”, mostly from the urban poor. They further state that:
“at least 2,555 of the killings have been attributed to the Philippine National Police. Duterte and other senior officials have instigated and incited the killings in a campaign that could amount to crimes against humanity”.