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EU expects more convictions for drug-related EJK —special envoy

Meeting families of drug war victims on Monday, the European Union's (EU) special representative for human rights said the union will closely watch the prosecution of more individuals responsible for the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK).

“We will certainly have expectations of more prosecutions and more convictions and more cases brought to justice and this will be an area that will be looked at by the EU and will also be looked at by the EU in the context of the GP plus arrangements,” EU Special Representative Eamon Gilmore said in Maki Pulido's report on "24 Oras."

The special envoy stressed that while EJK cases have gone down, they still happen in parts of the country.

Gilmore also pointed out that only three individuals have been convicted out of the over 6,000 cases of killings.

He added the EU will keep an eye on developments on these cases and will continue to offer help to make the responsible brought before the law.

He also said “the current administration has shown a greater openness to engagement with the international community on human rights issues”.

How the country will address the EJKs will be among the factors the EU will consider in the Philippines’ renewal of the Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) trade agreement with the union.

The EU GSP+ agreement grants the Philippines zero duties on 6,274 locally-made products, as long as the country meets the requirements regarding human and labor rights, the environment and good governance. It is set to lapse by the end of the year.

The special envoy also said the EU supports the decision of the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reject the Philippine government’s appeal to suspend the investigation on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

On Tuesday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippines will be "disengaging from any contact, communication with the ICC” following its rejection of the country’s petition.

In rejecting the Philippines' appeal, the ICC appeals chamber said the government failed to explain the Court's lack of jurisdiction or to provide an explanation of the implications and scope of the investigation.

It also pointed out that the local investigation can proceed even with the ongoing ICC investigation.

The Philippines was seeking the reversal of the ICC's decision to resume the probe into the Duterte administration's controversial war on drugs, which according to human rights organizations has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

In February, Marcos said he would not cooperate with the inquiry of the ICC into the abuses in the campaign against illegal drugs of the previous administration.

GMA Integrated News reached out to the Justice Department for comment.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News