Duterte says kill threat ‘per­fect’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MANILA: Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte yes­ter­day de­fended his threat to kill crim­i­nals as “per­fect” and vowed no let-up in his war on crime, as the death toll surged past 3,700. In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court chief prose­cu­tor Fa­tou Ben­souda said Thurs­day she was “deeply con­cerned” about the vi­o­lence, and sig­nalled Duterte could face pros­e­cu­tion by her body for his in­cite­ments to kill. But Duterte launched a typ­i­cally de­fi­ant counter-at­tack yes­ter­day, de­fend­ing his rhetoric and the crime war that is see­ing more that 1,000 peo­ple killed ev­ery month.

“There is noth­ing wrong in threat­en­ing crim­i­nals to death. By that state­ment alone: ‘You crim­i­nals, I will kill you. Do not fool around.’ It is a per­fect state­ment,” Duterte said. De­scrib­ing his crit­ics as “fools”, Duterte re­it­er­ated his po­si­tion he was not break­ing any do­mes­tic laws by threat­en­ing to kill crim­i­nals and pledged the crime war would con­tinue un­til there were no more il­le­gal drugs in so­ci­ety. “I will not stop. Be sure of it, you can cast it in what­ever stone. I will not stop un­til the last pusher, un­til the last drug lord is taken away.”

Duterte, 71, won May elec­tions in a land­slide on a pledge to erad­i­cate drugs. Last month Duterte said he would be “happy to slaugh­ter” three mil­lion drug ad­dicts, and likened his cam­paign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s ef­forts to ex­ter­mi­nate Jews in Europe. He later apol­o­gized for his Hitler ref­er­ence, but said he was “em­phatic” about want­ing to kill all drug ad­dicts. Since Duterte took of­fice, po­lice have killed 1,578 peo­ple and 2,151 have died in un­ex­plained cir­cum­stances, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures re­leased yes­ter­day. The to­tal of 3,729 is 368 more than the pre­vi­ous po­lice up­date re­leased last week.

The United States, the Euro­pean Union and the United Na­tions have con­demned al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings and warned of a break­down in the rule of law. Ben­souda in­di­cated Thurs­day that Duterte was at risk of join­ing the likes of late Libyan dic­ta­tor Muam­mar Gaddafi and Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Omar Al-Bashir, in be­ing in­dicted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.

“Let me be clear: Any per­son in the Philip­pines who in­cites or en­gages in acts of mass vi­o­lence in­clud­ing by or­der­ing, re­quest­ing, en­cour­ag­ing or con­tribut­ing... to the com­mis­sion of crimes within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the ICC is po­ten­tially li­able for pros­e­cu­tion be­fore the Court,” she said in a state­ment. The Philip­pine gov­ern­ment this week in­vited UN Spe­cial Rap­por­teur Agnes Cal­la­mard to in­ves­ti­gate the killings. But Duterte vowed on Thurs­day to “hu­mil­i­ate” her and any other crit­ics if they dared to come to the Philip­pines and in­ves­ti­gate. Polls show Filipinos over­whelm­ingly sup­port Duterte’s war on crime.

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