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.”


Number of pedestrians injured in car crash outside UK Parliament

Updated 25 min 30 sec ago
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Number of pedestrians injured in car crash outside UK Parliament

  • Police did not say if they suspected terrorism, calling it only a ‘collision’
  • Armed police immediately surrounded the silver car after it crashed at 7.37am

LONDON: A “number of pedestrians” were injured when a car crashed into barriers outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, with armed police swooping in to arrest the driver, Scotland Yard said.

“The male driver of the car was detained by officers at the scene,” the police statement said. “A number of pedestrians have been injured.”

None of the injuries are believed to be “life-threatening,” said police, who were yet to say if they suspected terrorism.

London Ambulance said they had treated two people at the scene for non-serious injuries and taken them to hospital.

Armed police immediately surrounded the silver car after it crashed at 7.37am (06:37 GMT), pointing guns at the driver as he was removed from the vehicle, according to footage posted on Twitter.

Later images showed police holding the man, dressed in jeans and a black puffer jacket, in handcuffs as roads and Underground stations around parliament were sealed off.

Witness Ewalina Ochab told the Press Association that the incident “looked intentional.”

“I was walking on the other side. I heard some noise and someone screamed,” she said.

“I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.

“I think it looked intentional — the car drove at speed and toward the barriers.”

Westminster was the scene of a terror attack last year, when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, drove a car at pedestrians on a bridge over the River Thames, before fatally stabbing a policeman on guard outside parliament.

The attack left five people dead and around 50 injured, and only ended when police shot Masood dead.

Britain endured a tumultuous period following the March 22 rampage, with four further terror attacks, including three in the capital at London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green tube station.