Millennium Post

Licence to kill

Licence to kill
Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, seems to be a law unto himself when it comes to presiding over the anti-drug war campaign. Its brutality defies description. Few bloodthirsty dictators have had his track record in ensuring deaths even on suspicion. Now, he vows that the campaign will continue and become even more 'brutal' as the death toll keeps climbing. Naturally, he would have nothing to do with the International Criminal Court (ICC) now that the proceedings into the controversial war on drugs have commenced. Duterte has repeatedly said that if lives of law enforcers are in danger they should 'shoot' the suspects. "The drive against corruption, criminality and drugs will resume and it will continue and it will be brutal," he said. More than 12,000 people have died since Duterte took office on June 30 last year and began his anti-drugs campaign. A third of the fatalities were killed in raids and sting operations by the police who say they acted in self-defence, while the rest were killed by unknown gunmen. Rights groups said that many of the deaths were assassinations of drugs users with police complicity, allegations that the authorities have denied. Duterte has said that he would rather see "thousands or millions of criminals go first" than see the security forces killed in the anti-narcotics war. The Philippines now officially says that it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court, a month after the judicial body started an inquiry into Duterte's controversial war on drugs. The rights groups have long accused Duterte of gross human rights violations in his anti-drug campaign, which Human Rights Watch estimates have claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people since June 2016. According to the Philippines government, only 3,900 people have been killed in the drug war. Duterte has hit out at the United Nations efforts to investigate human rights violations in the country. In a speech, earlier this month, he ordered the police against cooperating with the UN investigators and even warned them. The ICC is not a part of the UN but the two bodies have a cooperation agreement. Last year, Amnesty International said that the alleged extrajudicial killings by the police "may constitute crimes against humanity." The Philippines is not the first country to quit the ICC. Burundi, Russia, South Africa, and Gambia all moved to withdraw from the court. The ICC is meant to be a "court of last resort," a place to try dictators and other people who cannot be brought to justice domestically. It has long been controversial for its focus on the developing world, Africa in particular.
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