By Mata Press Service
A Canadian-based global humanitarian organization is calling on the international community to indict Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte for crimes against humanity.
Saying Duterte, whose deadly war on drugs has claimed over 7,000 victims, mostly in extra-judicial executions, the RINJ Foundation said the president must resign immediately.
“Rodrigo Duterte, claims a justification for the Republic of the Philippines killing the weak, the poor and the sick because they use drugs,’ RINJ said on its website.
“His willingness for state-sponsored murder is why he must resign Immediately,” said the group which fights for the safety of women and children.
RINJ said that it believes it will be only a matter of time before Duterte will be indicted by the International Criminal Court.
Early last fall International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said perpetrators of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines could face prosecution.
“Let me be clear,” the ICC prosecutor wrote in a deliberately worded written statement, “Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court.”
“Duterte is going to be indicted and he is on the evidence likely to be convicted if he doesn’t die of old age and illness in the meantime. These prosecutions take time. Meanwhile, Duterte must resign,” said RINJ.
“Can you imagine in Canada for example, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling Canadians that if you have a gun, kill your neighbours who smoke a joint? Duterte has done that repeatedly and Filipinos are dropping like flies.”
Hundreds of killers now roam The Philippines looking for prey…they know they vave impunity from their President Duterte…The rule of law is gone. Everyone is terrified. Nobody is safe”
RINJ’s demands come in the wake of the New York-based Human Rights Watch slamming Duterte for his war on drugs and calling the Filipino leader out in its report for unleashing a “rights calamity.”
“Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Duterte and senior government officials have praised the killing spree of suspected drug dealers and drug users and resisted holding those responsible to account,” HRW said in “World Report 2017: Demagogues Threaten Human Rights.”
HRW executive director Kenneth Roth also called out Duterte after he "openly called for summary executions of suspected drug dealers and users—and even of human rights activists who defend them."
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of HRW, said Duterte has shown no regard for human rights in waging his campaign against drugs.
“In the name of wiping out ‘drug crime,’ President Duterte has steamrolled human rights protections and elevated unlawful killings of criminal suspects to a cornerstone of government policy,” Kine said.
More than 7,000 people have been killed since Duterte took office seven months ago, about 2,250 in anti-drugs operations and the rest still being investigated. Police say many of those deaths are gangs members killing each other though critics blame many deaths on vigilantes in cahoots with police.
Duterte continues to enjoy high popularity ratings despite his bloody campaign that has earned him condemnation from the United States, United Nations, and the European Union.
He also has launched torrents of verbal abuse at anyone who has spoken against the campaign, from rights groups and senators to Catholic priests and Western governments.
Meanwhile, families of alleged drugs suspects killed by Philippine police petitioned the Supreme Court last week to force police to disclose evidence linking them to narcotics, in the first legal challenge to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Lawyers representing families of four men killed in a run-down Manila neighbourhood in August, and one survivor, urged the top court to allow scrutiny of police operations because the official accounts were “sheer incongruity” and read like film plots “from bygone days of Filipino cinema”.
The petition asks the top court to compel police to suspend drugs operations in parts of the Quezon City area of Manila, where the four were killed, and make available the surveillance material and intelligence reports that had initially identified the victims as being drugs dealers. The families deny their kin were involved in drugs.
The government vehemently denies sponsoring extrajudicial killings, or police collaboration with assassins.
Asked about the lawsuit, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said authorities had no involvement in extrajudicial killings and Duterte would allow the legal process to take its course. – with agencies