ICC probing alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela

    The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on Thursday unveiled new probes focusing on the deadly war on drugs in the Philippines and alleged abuses during Venezuela's political unrest. The unprecedented decision to launch two inquiries at once comes after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was petitioned by opposition leaders from the two countries, accusing their hardline governments of crimes against humanity. Bensouda said after "a careful, independent and impartial review... I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation." Both countries have signed the...

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    Rodrigo Duterte’s first year: a human rights disaster the world prefers to ignore
    Tom Smith

    Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as president of the Philippines should never be forgotten – for all the wrong reasons. For those directly affected by his brutal and lawless “war on drugs”, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people, the only hope is for an end to the suffering. But in the absence of a clear international declaration against Duterte’s disastrous regime, that hope is in vain. The sad fact is that much of the suffering Duterte is inflicting was entirely predictable. The Philippines’ human rights institutions are fragile, and Duterte came to office with a well-known...

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    How failure of a peace deal could boost Islamist extremism in Philippines

    Captain Jimmy Amolay looked across the river at the charred wreckage of a backhoe sitting in shallow, muddy water. Islamist militants blew up the tractor even though it was being used to dredge the river to build a road and prevent flooding, which could only benefit the local community. Confoundingly, the villagers were protecting the culprits in their midst. Amolay’s Philippine Army unit hadn’t been able to capture a single member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) since arriving on 5 February to guard the dredging project in Datu Salibo, an impoverished municipality in Maguindanao Province. “There’s one village where I’d say 95 percent of the men are BIFF,” said Amolay....

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