Philippines' Duterte 'confident' of evading ICC prosecution: aide

Rodrigo Duterte

Police say they have killed almost 4,000 suspects in legitimate police operations, while almost 2,000 homicide cases that police describe as "drug-related incidents" are under investigation.

However, the firebrand leader notorious for his defiance of global pressure questioned whether the ICC had jurisdiction to indict him over the deaths of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs.

Roque's pronouncement comes after the ICC Office of the Prosecutor announced that it would begin preliminary examination on the crimes against humanity linked to the government's anti-illegal drug campaign. "Just the two of us in the room", Duterte said during a news conference, referring to Bensouda. Go ahead and proceed in your investigation.

"There are so many massacres happening in all parts of Asia and you pick on me".

The ICC's preliminary examination was triggered by the communication filed by Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio in April a year ago accusing Duterte and other government senior officials of committing crimes against humanity due to the war on drugs. Find me guilty, of course.

Activists believe the death toll is far higher and accuse police or systematic cover-ups and executions.

The mission did not lead to Duterte's prosecution and Roque said the president expects the same outcome.

There have been few prosecutions for the killings and no police officer has been convicted, but the government insists the ICC has no jurisdiction because the country's courts are fully functioning.

The outspoken Philippine leader, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, took issue over the Philippines becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor.

According to De Guia, the ICC will also determine whether there is sufficient evidence of crime of sufficient gravity falling within ICC's jurisdiction and whether there are genuine national proceedings on these cases during its preliminary probe.

The Philippine president came to power in 2016 promising a ruthless war on drugs, and at times boasted of overseeing a so-called "death squad" behind the killings of more than a thousand petty criminals and his political opponents when he was mayor of the southern city of Davao for two decades.

"There is no f**king provision of extrajudicial killing".

The president denies being behind extrajudicial killings, and has frequently lashed out at any foreign entity criticizing his drug war, be they the USA president, the European Union, the United Nations, or even the ICC itself.

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