International Criminal Court Investigates Duterte for Crimes against Humanity

WATCH: ICC prosecutor closely following events in Philippines since 2016

The ICC "investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the worldwide community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression,".

Jose Luis Gascon, chief of the Commission on Human Rights, has urged police and the Justice Ministry to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its "preliminary examination" into whether Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has committed a crime against humanity in conducting his crackdown on drugs.

Police say they have killed almost 4,000 drug suspects in the narcotics crackdown, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the official numbers.

Duterte said it was doubtful the ICC had jurisdiction in the Philippines because its accession to the ICC's Rome Statute in 2011 had never been announced in the country's official gazette, as required to be considered lawful. "Just the two of us in the room", Duterte said during a news conference, referring to Bensouda.

"There are so many massacres happening in all parts of Asia and you pick on me. It would be a distinct honour for me, even if they don't make me a hero, to die for my country", he said previous year after the complaint against him was filed. "You better clear that up because I will withdraw from the ICC", he warned, echoing an earlier threat. Go ahead and proceed in your investigation.

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The OSG issued the statement after the Office of the President received notification that the ICC would conduct a preliminary examination into the allegations of crimes against humanity against Duterte and 11 other government officials. Find me guilty, of course.

The case against Duterte was brought by a Philippine lawyer who accused the president of ordering the "mass murder" of thousands of people for dealing or using illegal drugs. Duterte's legal counsel, including his attorney general on Friday have claimed that there are several related cases to the anti-drugs crackdown are still pending in courts as well as a Senate investigation that had no evidence of breaches of law.

Roque said a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings in 2007 investigated Duterte's role in 1,069 alleged death-squad killings in the southern city of Davao while he was mayor.

Since his election as president, he has publicly called on police to "shoot-to-kill" suspects who resist arrest, and vowed to protect law officers from prosecution, maintaining the anti-crime operations are tough but legitimate. Amnesty International that the campaign of police and extrajudicial killings "may constitute crimes against humanity." the rights group warned "police have been allowed to operate in a culture of nearly total impunity", adding that "all perpetrators, including those in positions of command, must be held to account". "Our work was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers", Matobato said of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) of which hewas a member. "There is no provision for extrajudicial killing, it is not defined anywhere".

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