ICC halts investigation into Philippine killings amid crackdown

GENEVA — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Friday suspended a probe into Philippines killings as part of the government’s anti-drugs campaign, citing “certain factors” that have changed.

In a statement, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said it agreed with the government’s call for the investigation, which is focused on extrajudicial killings. The prosecutor asked for approval to expand the probe to include extrajudicial killings in her office’s 2017 request for information.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen a nationwide crackdown that has killed thousands of suspects, including drug users and smalltime dealers. But rights groups say the campaign has been effectively used to eliminate perceived political opponents and members of the government and police.

Duterte said in an interview with Bloomberg News last week that he had no control over police executing people, calling it an “unjust war.”

The president said in another interview in April that he authorized the police to “do whatever they want” when conducting the anti-drugs campaign, and that he wanted “drug-dealing criminals killed to save lives.”

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