Relatives of Filipinos murdered by the government in the Philippine drug war, along with activists, at a protest on Tuesday, 28 August 2018, in the Manila area. Photo: Eloisa Lopez / Reuters

By Felipe Villamor
28 August 2018

MANILA (The New York Times) – Relatives of eight people killed by Philippine police officers during President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs have accused the president of murder in a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court, their lawyer said on Tuesday.

The complaint is the second brought at the Hague-based court against Mr. Duterte, 73, over the anti-narcotics crackdown, which has left thousands dead at the hands of police officers and unknown gunmen since he took office in 2016.

Neri Colmenares, president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, which is representing the family members of the slain Filipinos, said they hoped to hold Mr. Duterte accountable “for his crimes against humanity committed through acts of murder for the extrajudicial killings of thousands of Filipinos and other inhumane acts.”

The complaint is unlikely to have much practical effect, since Mr. Duterte’s government does not recognize the international court. He said in March that he was withdrawing the Philippines from the treaty that established it.

The new complaint comes as Mr. Duterte is strengthening his grip on the Philippines’ judicial system. Over the weekend, he announced the selection of Teresita de Castro as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, replacing Maria Lourdes Sereno, a fierce critic of Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs. The two women are archrivals.

A rights group, Rise Up for Life and for Rights, which has also joined the new complaint, expressed optimism about the case, saying there was “more than enough proof of widespread and systematic attacks against civilians.” [more]

Duterte Is Accused of Murder in New Filing at Hague Court

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