By Addison Pascua


Over two weeks after the court wrapped up its victims representations stage, a report from the International Criminal Court (ICC) found that 94% of the 204 representations agreed to the findings of the ICC prosecutor to conduct a full blown investigation “into all crimes against humanity” allegedly committed in President Duterte’s war on drugs.

In its public redacted report released on Sunday, August 29, the ICC Registry’s Victims Participation and Reparations Section (VPRS) concluded that “victims overwhelmingly support an investigation by the ICC prosecutor into all crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the context of the so-called [‘war on drugs’] in the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 17 March 2019.”

According to Lawyer Kristina Conti, who represents the original families who filed one of the first communiques that forced the preliminary examination, the 204 submissions represented a total of 1,530 individual victims and 1,050 families.

During the court’s representation stage, victims testified and told the court whether they support the ICC’s probe into crimes committed under the brutal drug war of President Duterte in the Philippines and why.

While accusing Duterte of instigating bloody killings, most of the victims expressed their willingness to conduct a full investigation by the ICC prosecutor to seek accountability and justice for their loved ones.

“There is total impunity here. The police and their cohorts just killed, and the President gave the orders to kill in his public announcement, that’s why the killing continues and this has to be stopped… This is so inhuman and cruel,” one of the victims affirmed.

“He (President Duterte) should be jailed. We do not need him to die or be killed. We want him to suffer in jail for what he is doing to our country… For the suffering he is giving to the people of this country and the powerless,” another victim claimed.

Other victims also feared that if these crimes are not investigated, state authorities will continue to commit crimes against humanity and eventually destroy more lives. 

“The thousands of Filipino deaths during Duterte;s reign of terror have destroyed so many lives. I stand for them, I stand for my brother. You are our last hope ICC. Please help us investigate this and hold those people involved accountable. Thank you,” one of the victims was quoted saying.

“We don’t need to be quiet, we are the victims, we are the ones who have lost, are we going to be afraid? We should be brave in seeking justice. To seek justice and to stop the torture and killings. If these are not investigated, the state authorities will continue to commit human rights violations,” they said as quoted in the report.

Aside from killings and torture, the report also showed other potential crimes against humanity committed under the context of drug war such as imprisonment, disappearance, and sexual violence.
Many representations believed that these crimes, which inflicted physical, psychological, social and material harm to them, should be covered by investigation too.

The victims representations at this stage are not evidence yet but it would definitely help the ICC pre-trial chamber decide whether to permit former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to conduct an investigation into President Duterte’s drug war.

Nonetheless, National Union of Peoples Lawyers Edre Olalia expressed optimism following the ICC report because this was “one more step toward justice for the EJK victims.”

“We are confident that with this clamor for justice and President Duterte’s weak arguments to avoid accountability, the ICC’s PTC will ultimately grant the OTP recommendation for formal investigation,” she said.

As of the moment, Malacañang has yet to release a statement regarding the report from ICC.