Shoot me, don't jail me, Philippines' Duterte tells Hague court prosecutor

Published: February 9, 2018
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines May 24, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE PHOTO

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines May 24, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte salutes while passing members of custom police, upon arrival to witness the destruction of condemned smuggled luxury cars worth 61,626,000.00 pesos (approximately US$1.2 million), which include used Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar and Corvette Stingray, during the 116th Bureau of Customs founding anniversary in Metro Manila, Philippines February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines May 24, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE PHOTO

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told the International Criminal Court (ICC) to go ahead and investigate him for crimes against humanity, and said he would prefer to face a firing squad than be jailed.

However, the firebrand leader notorious for his defiance of international pressure questioned whether the ICC had jurisdiction to indict him over the deaths of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs.

He denied ever giving an order to police to kill drug suspects.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Thursday the preliminary examination into Duterte’s campaign sought to establish whether it had the jurisdiction, and if crimes against humanity had been committed.

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“I would ask for the rare privilege of talking to you. Just the two of us in the room,C Duterte said during a news conference, referring to Bensouda.

 “I welcome you. If you want to find me guilty, go ahead. So be it. Find a country where they kill people with a firing squad and I‘m ready.”

“If you haul me into a rigmarole of trial and trial, no need. Go ahead and proceed in your investigation. Find me guilty, of course. You can do that.”

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in Duterte’s signature campaign that has alarmed the international community.

Activists believe the death toll is far higher and accuse police or systematic cover-ups and executions. Police and the government dismiss that.

The examination is the first formal step the ICC prosecutor takes when considering whether a situation in a member state could eventually lead to charges. The process may take years.

Central to whether it proceeds is if the court has jurisdiction, since it can only prosecute crimes when a member state fails to do so.

President Rodrigo Duterte salutes while passing members of custom police, upon arrival to witness the destruction of condemned smuggled luxury cars worth 61,626,000.00 pesos (approximately US$1.2 million), which include used Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar and Corvette Stingray, during the 116th Bureau of Customs founding anniversary in Metro Manila, Philippines February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

President Rodrigo Duterte salutes while passing members of custom police, upon arrival to witness the destruction of condemned smuggled luxury cars, during the 116th Bureau of Customs founding anniversary in Metro Manila, Philippines February 6, 2018.  PHOTO: REUTERS

Duterte’s legal counsel and his attorney general on Friday said several cases related to the anti-drugs crackdown were pending in courts and a Senate investigation had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

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The ICC complaints came from a lawyer and two lawmakers and include the accounts of two self-confessed hit men who say they killed at Duterte’s behest when he was a city mayor, and public statements he made as president that they say amounted to ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders.

Duterte said it was doubtful the ICC had jurisdiction in the Philippines because its accession to the ICC’s Rome Statute in 2011 had never been announced in the country’s official gazette, as required to be considered lawful.

He also vented his anger at allegations of extrajudicial killings during his campaign, saying the term could not be defined.

“What is extrajudicial killing?” he said. “There is no provision for extrajudicial killing, it is not defined anywhere.”

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Kolsat
    Feb 10, 2018 - 1:20AM

    So the activists against want drug dealers to work fearlessly and that is why they are launching a case against Duerte. Don’t they realise the lives are lost due to drugs both in killings and being useless as a citizen with responsibility to the nation. I like Duerte if he is controlling drug dealers and thinning their ranks.Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Feb 10, 2018 - 1:22AM

    So the activists against want drug dealers to work fearlessly and that is why they are launching a case against Duterte. Don’t they realise the lives are lost due to drugs both in killings and being useless as a citizen with responsibility to the nation. I like Duterte if he is controlling drug dealers and thinning their ranks.Recommend

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