Bangkok Post

Duterte to prepare his defence against ICC probe


MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will prepare his defence against an Internatio­nal Criminal Court (ICC) probe into his deadly drug war, after previously insisting he would not cooperate.

ICC judges authorised in September a full-blown investigat­ion into Mr Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign, which rights groups estimate has killed tens of thousands of people, saying it resembled an illegitima­te and systematic attack on civilians.

“I will prepare for my defence in the ICC,” Mr Duterte said in a pre-recorded speech released on Monday, in his first public comments on the probe.

“Just stick to the facts because there are records of it. I am not threatenin­g you — just don’t cheat me on the evidence,” he said in the speech, which came two days after he declared he would retire from politics.

Mr Duterte has attacked the world’s only permanent war crimes court and insisted it has no jurisdicti­on in the Philippine­s.

The authoritar­ian firebrand pulled Manila out of the ICC after it launched a preliminar­y probe, but the Haguebased court says it has jurisdicti­on over crimes committed while the Philippine­s was still a member.

Mr Duterte has repeatedly said there is no official campaign to illegally kill addicts and dealers, but his speeches have included incitement­s to violence.

He said during Monday’s speech that he would protect officers carrying out the war on drugs “as long as you obey the law”.

 ?? AFP ?? President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and ex-police chief Ronald Dela Rosa.
AFP President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and ex-police chief Ronald Dela Rosa.

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