A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on Monday requested an investigation into the Filipino government’s crackdown on drug-related crime.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said an initial probe into the issue started in February 2018 "determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed" in the Philippines between July 1, 2016, and March 16, 2019.
The Philippines withdrew from the ICC on March 16, 2019, because of the ICC’s initial probe.
Despite the withdrawal, Bensouda, whose nine-year term as a prosecutor ends this week, said the court still has jurisdiction, as the alleged crimes took place while the Philippines was still a member.
She said the initial investigation "indicates that members of the Philippine National Police, and others acting in concert with them, have unlawfully killed between several thousand and tens of thousands of civilians during that time."
She also said prosecutors investigated allegations of "torture and other inhumane acts, and related events" dating back to Nov. 1, 2011.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte defended the government’s anti-drug policies when he announced its withdrawal from the ICC, saying it was "lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers who have for many years destroyed the present generation, specially the youth."
ICC judges have 120 days to decide whether to move forward on Bensouda’s request.