Duterte chides ICC on drug war probe: I will only face a PH court with a Filipino judge

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 22) – President Rodrigo Duterte again shrugged off a call by outgoing International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate his centerpiece drug war program.

"Why would I defend or face an accusation before white people? You must be crazy. Mga colonizers ito noon (They are the colonizers before) and they have not atoned for their sins against the countries that they invaded, including the Philippines," said Duterte.

Duterte said he will only face a Philippine court with a Filipino judge if the administration's war on drugs will be investigated.

"They are trying to set up a court outside our country and making us liable to face them. Our laws are different, our criminal procedure is different. How are you supposed to get justice there?" the President explained. "I will readily face a court being accused in a Philippine court before a Filipino judge."

The President again defended his administration's war on drugs, saying from 700 to 800 individuals are caught every day due to drug-related offenses. He added that the number can reach a thousand if calls from the government hotline 8888 are included.

Duterte also mentioned that narco-politics in the country has been eradicated, after some mayors were killed during drug war operations.

"May ilang mayors, ‘yung iba namatay na kasi pumapasok sila sa droga. (Some mayors were killed because they engaged in the illegal drug trade.) We're not saying that we are killing them. We kill them because they fought back," he said.

Duterte also said that he never ordered to kill a person involved in illegal drugs, but admitted he threatened to kill them.

"Wala akong sinabi na (I did not mention that) you kill Mr. Santos, I never said that. But I said, I will kill you if you will destroy my country. That I concede that I said it," said Duterte.

Last June 15, Bensouda requested for an authorization from the court’s pre-trial chamber to conduct an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Duterte administration's war on drugs. She added that "police and other government officials planned, ordered, and sometimes directly perpetrated extrajudicial killings."

According to the ICC prosecutor, around 12,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed from July 2016 to March 2019 in connection with the government's anti-illegal drug campaign. Government data showed that 6,117 individuals died during anti-drug operations as of April 30 this year.

Although the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2019, Bensouda said in another statement that the court retains jurisdiction over crimes that were alleged to have occurred during the period when the country was still a state party to the treaty.