The Philippine National Police (PNP) said today that pieces of evidence should still be presented to prove that human rights abuses were committed during its four-year-old war on drugs.
The police force said this in reaction to the report released by the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday which said that it found “reasonable basis” to believe that various crimes against humanity were committed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.
“In so far as the official position of the [Duterte] government, it does not recognize the ICC report,” PNP spokesman Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana said in an interview with the news program Unang Hirit.
“It’s part of the discussion on human rights. We need to see first the pieces of evidence [from the ICC] that would say that there was a violation of human rights,” Usana said when he was asked if the PNP would show proof that there were no crimes against humanity committed during the war on drugs.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday in a media briefing that the ICC report was “legally erroneous,” because not all crimes should be tried by the ICC. He insisted that the court has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, which left the organization in March 2018.
Duterte unilaterally decided to withdraw from the ICC due to what he said were the organization’s “baseless, unprecedented, and outrageous attacks” against him and his government in connection to the drug war. He said that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines because the country’s ratification of the Rome statute that created the ICC was not published in the government’s official publication, the Official Gazette.
At the same time, the government insists that the ICC can only probe cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes if the local courts are unable or not willing to do so. The Duterte government said that it would not cooperate with the ICC if it chooses to investigate.
Allegations of torture, evidence-planting, and even rape have hounded the Philippine police since it launched its anti-drug campaign. In a report released in June, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that during drug raids, cops habitually plant guns on suspects’ bodies, as well as methamphetamine. In one example, the organization found that “that the police repeatedly recovered guns bearing the same serial numbers from different victims in different locations.”
The ICC also said that it received reports that women with ties with drug suspects were raped by the police.
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