San Francisco Chronicle

ICC to probe Philippine­s’ war on drugs

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Internatio­nal Criminal Court judges on Wednesday authorized an investigat­ion into the Philippine­s’ deadly “war on drugs” campaign, saying the crackdown “cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcemen­t operation.”

The court’s former prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, sought permission from judges earlier this year to investigat­e the Philippine government’s campaign.

She said that a preliminar­y probe she began in February 2018 found “a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed” in the Philippine­s between July 1, 2016, and March 16, 2019, the date the Philippine­s withdrew from the court.

In a written decision, judges who considered Bensouda’s request found a “reasonable basis to proceed with an investigat­ion” into killings committed throughout the Philippine­s as part of the war on drugs, saying they appear to amount to a crime against humanity under the court’s founding statute.

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was withdrawin­g his country from the court, he defended the campaign as “lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers who have for many years destroyed the present generation, specially the youth.”

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