Roque to recommend UN expert to probe drug war: 'Definitely not Callamard'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 27) — The Palace is open to having a United Nations (UN) expert investigate the country's drug war as long as Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard is out of the picture.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who also serves as presidential adviser on human rights, on Tuesday said he will recommend the special rapporteur who will be allowed to conduct a probe in the country.

"Definitely not Agnes," Roque said, referring to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, at whom President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly lashed out for comments on the bloody drug campaign.

READ: Callamard calls for probe on all 'unlawful' deaths following Kian slay

"There's at least one rapporteur that I will recommend be allowed to conduct an investigation but I can't divulge for one which rapporteur this is," Roque added.

Roque said Callamard failed to pass the government's standards in terms of "character, credibility, and trustworthiness."

"It's her fault that the home state does not want her in," Roque said.

Roque on Tuesday stressed the UN cannot conduct an investigation without the consent of the Philippines as the home state. "There's no one that can compel a state party to allow an investigation if it does want to do so."

Local and international human rights groups have called on the government to allow the UN to look into the anti-drug campaign. Around 4,000 drug suspects were killed in police operations since the start of the bloody drug war in July 2016, government data show.

Critics said Duterte in his public pronouncements ordered or encouraged policemen to kill those involved in the drug trade, resulting in thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings.

Malacañang, however, has repeatedly said there are no state-sponsored killings. It has also committed to investigate officers who violate and abuse their power.

READ: Gov't shuns UN experts: We will never condone EJKs