Amnesty: Extrajudicial killing a crime under int'l law

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — International human rights group Amnesty International reminded the Philippine government that extrajudicial execution is a crime under international law.

"The unlawful and deliberate killing carried out by order of a state actor, or with the state's complicity or acquiescence, is an extrajudicial execution," Amnesty said in a statement released Wednesday.

This statement was made following the information relayed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the Senate inquiry on drug-related killings earlier this week.

PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa revealed that at least 1,067 killings by unidentified people and an estimated 712 killings by police have been recorded in the country since July 1.

The human rights group said that the number of killings "is a terrifying indication that the authorities are grossly failing in their obligations to respect and protect the right to life."

Amnesty stressed that people suspected of drug trafficking offenses should be prosecuted in a court of law under proceedings that meet international standards of fairness and comply with the rule of law.

"Safeguards on the right to liberty and security of person, including fair trial guarantees, must apply equally for drug-related cases," the statement read.

"Incitement to violence and discrimination are prohibited under international law and risk escalating a cycle of violence in the country," Amnesty said.

Establish police complaints commission

Amnesty urged Philippine authorities to form an independent police complaints commission that would be independent from the influence of the police.

The commission will have the mandate of receiving complaints of human rights violations committed by the police and provide protection to complainants, victims and witnesses.

The group added that the drug issue in the country should be considered as a public health matter.

"The heavy reliance on repressive policies and the use of force to control drug use and addiction across differing countries has not led to a decreased use of drugs over the years, as found by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime," the statement read.

The use of force and militarization on anti-drugs operations has led to increasing levels of violence, human trafficking violations and abuses, the group said.

The group reminded the Philippines that the state has a duty to protect its citizens from all forms of violence, to independently and impartially investigate the killings and to bring its perpetrators to justice.

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said that the International Criminal Court may assume jurisdiction over extrajudicial and vigilante killings if the government fails to address the issue.

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