Shoot me, don’t jail me, Philippines’ Duterte tells Hague court prosecutor

About 4,000 Filipinos have been killed by police Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature campaign that has alarmed the international community. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Shoot me, don’t jail me, Philippines’ Duterte tells Hague court prosecutor

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told the International Criminal Court (ICC) to go ahead and investigate him for crimes against humanity, and said he would prefer to face a firing squad than be jailed.
However, the firebrand leader notorious for his defiance of international pressure questioned whether the ICC had jurisdiction to indict him over the deaths of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs.
He denied ever giving an order to police to kill drug suspects.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Thursday the preliminary examination into Duterte’s campaign sought to establish whether it had the jurisdiction, and if crimes against humanity had been committed.
“I would ask for the rare privilege of talking to you. Just the two of us in the room,” Duterte said during a news conference, referring to Bensouda.
“I welcome you. If you want to find me guilty, go ahead. So be it. Find a country where they kill people with a firing squad and I’m ready.
“If you haul me into a rigmarole of trial and trial, no need. Go ahead and proceed in your investigation. Find me guilty, of course. You can do that.”
About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in Duterte’s signature campaign that has alarmed the international community.
Activists believe the death toll is far higher and accuse police or systematic cover-ups and executions. Police and the government dismiss that.
The examination is the first formal step the ICC prosecutor takes when considering whether a situation in a member state could eventually lead to charges. The process may take years.
Central to whether it proceeds is if the court has jurisdiction, since it can only prosecute crimes when a member state fails to do so.
Duterte’s legal counsel and his attorney general on Friday said several cases related to the anti-drugs crackdown were pending in courts and a Senate investigation had found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The ICC complaints came from a lawyer and two lawmakers and include the accounts of two self-confessed hit men who say they killed at Duterte’s behest when he was a city mayor, and public statements he made as president that they say amounted to ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders.
Duterte said it was doubtful the ICC had jurisdiction in the Philippines because its accession to the ICC’s Rome Statute in 2011 had never been announced in the country’s official gazette, as required to be considered lawful.
He also vented his anger at allegations of extrajudicial killings during his campaign, saying the term could not be defined.
“What is extrajudicial killing?” he said. “There is no provision for extrajudicial killing, it is not defined anywhere.”


Turkey’s Erdogan offers support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Updated 24 January 2019
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Turkey’s Erdogan offers support for Venezuela’s Maduro

  • The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Maduro over the phone to stand tall
  • The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro severed ties with US after they declared their support for the opposition leader

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and offered his support after a Venezuelan opposition leader declared himself interim president, a spokesman for the Turkish president said on Thursday.
“Our president called and extended Turkey’s support to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and said ‘My brother Maduro! Stand tall, we stand by you!” Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, winning the backing of Washington and many Latin American nations and prompting socialist Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013, to break relations with the United States.