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94% of drug war victims back probe into alleged crimes vs. humanity —ICC Registry Report

94% of drug war victims back probe into alleged crimes vs. humanity —ICC Registry Report

Ninety-four percent of the victims of the bloody war on drugs of the Duterte administration support the findings of former International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that the drug war and its perpetrators should be probed by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, an ICC report showed Monday.

This is contained under the Public Redacted Registry Report on Victims’ Representations submitted to the ICC Trial Chamber on August 27. It was based on 204 victim representations submitted on behalf of around 1,530 individual victims and 1,050 families. 

"The Victims Participation and Reparations Section (VPRS) [of the ICC Registry] notes that 192 forms [submitted by the victims] indicated that the victims want the [ICC] Prosecutor to investigate the crimes committed in the context of the war on drugs. The main motivating factors invoked are: genuine investigation by an impartial international court; identifying and bringing the perpetrators to justice; ending impunity; preventing future crimes; knowing the truth about what happened to victims and clearing their names of false accusations; and allowing for victims’ voices to be heard," the report read. 

"The [accounts of victim] representations received [by the Trial Chamber] overwhelmingly support the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) request. The ICC Judges will carefully analyse all information received and will issue their decision on the OTP Request in due time," the VPRS of the ICC Registry said in a separate statement. 

The Public Redacted Registry Report on Victims’ Representations submitted to the ICC Trial Chamber has three parts: the victims' views as they were communicated to the Registry, further details of the representations received by the VPRS in terms of types, and statistical data and content and overview of the Article 15(3) process with an emphasis on the challenges and obstacles encountered.

The report quoted victims and their representations as saying that they will not seek justice without the ICC probe, and that the "prospect of an ICC investigation has rekindled their hopes of achieving justice and surfacing the truth." 

Other victims, however, said they are not the ones who should fear because they are not the ones who committed the crime.

"We don’t need to be quiet, we are the victims, we are the ones who have lost, are we going to be afraid? We should be brave in seeking justice. To seek justice and to stop the torture and killings. If these are not investigated, the state authorities will continue to commit human rights violations," they said as quoted in the report. 

"The thousands of Filipino deaths during Duterte's reign of terror [...] have destroyed so many lives. I stand for them, I stand for my brother. You are our last hope ICC. Please help us investigate on this and hold those people involved accountable. Thank you," they added. 

GMA News Online has contacted Malacañang on Monday for comment about the ICC report but has yet to receive a reply.

Bensouda, before retiring as ICC prosecutor in July, asked the ICC to probe the Duterte administration’s drug war since there is “reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity has been committed in the context of the drug war.” 

In a 52-page report, Bensouda cited police, human rights groups, media reports and confidential sources in concluding that the drug war killings which numbered over 20,000 had a pattern of suspects who are not resisting arrest being killed, with some even begging for their lives to be spared.

Malacañang has already said the ICC won’t be able to compel the Philippines to cooperate with an ICC probe into the drug war war killings.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration will never cooperate because the country is no longer a member of the ICC.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that he will not be held liable for crimes against humanity over the drug war killings because the allegations against him are based on hearsay, Roque also said. —KG, GMA News