Justice For All The Victims of Drug-Related Killings
Prosecute Pres. Duterte For His Crimes Against The Poor
August 28, 2018
Families of victims of drug-related killings and Rise Up for Life and for Rights, through the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), filed a Communication and Complaint with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging President Rodrigo Duterte with committing Crimes Against Humanity.
“The Communication and Complaint filed with the office of Prosecutor Bensouda aims to make President Duterte, being the most responsible, account for his crimes against humanity committed through acts of murder for the extra-judicial killings of thousands of Filipinos and other inhumane acts for causing great suffering to the victims and their families under the Article 7 of the Rome Statute,” said Atty. Neri Colmenares, national chair of NUPL.
The group insists that the 4,410 to as many as 23,000* deaths under President Duterte’s banner administration program—Oplan Double Barrel and its succeeding versions, and his very own public pronouncements inciting the killings are more than enough proof of the ‘widespread and systematic attacks against civilians’.
“These killings must be stopped and justice must be served, not only for the individual families of the victims, but for all of us as a people. The poor have been striving hard to get out of poverty but the President’s answer buried them instead, literally and figuratively, to greater woes. And now, this prevailing atmosphere of death and impunity forces us to live in fear of the state forces and masked men roaming around our humble communities, carrying a license to kill assured by no less than the President himself,” said Deaconess Rubylin Litao, coordinator of Rise Up.
The group explained that they have decided to take their cases to the international court because of the gravity of the situation and of President Duterte’s immunity to prosecution in Philippine courts. The families are also losing confidence to the local justice system, citing absence of genuine investigations, delay, if not outright refusal, in prosecuting police officers directly involved in cases and the recent replacement of Supreme Court Chief Justice and Ombudsman by figures known to support the President.
“Yes, we cry out for justice for my son, a hard-working, young man who was just picked up at a police check point on his way home from work. But this is bigger than us now; I don’t want others to suffer the same fate as that of my son. Despite our fear and limited resources, we will try every avenue and arena possible to ensure that,” said Dennise David, father of John Jezreel and one of the complainants.
“We call on Prosecutor Bensouda to take heed of our call for justice and prosecute President Duterte for his crimes against the people, especially the poor, in the soonest possible time. May this be a warning to President Duterte and the PNP of their mounting responsibility and accountability to the people. We call on our fellow Filipinos and fellow human rights advocates overseas to be one with the families and support our journey towards justice. As faithfuls, it is our duty to untiringly work for the triumph of life, justice and peace over death, impunity and tyranny,” Deaconess Rubylin Litao ended.
Deaconess Rubylin Litao
Coordinator, Rise Up | 0928-385-4123
28 August 2018 | NEWS RELEASE
Press conference at UCCP, QC August 28, 2018