Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda concerning the situation in the Republic of the Philippines
My Office is aware of worrying reported extra-judicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the Philippines, which may have led to over 3,000 deaths in the past three months. I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force.
Extra-judicial killings may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack.
The Republic of the Philippines is a State Party to the ICC and as such, the Court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of the Philippines since 1 November 2011, the date when the Statute entered into force in the Philippines.
Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court.
My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Gabon; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.