World Bulletin / News Desk
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is "very confident" he will escape International Criminal Court prosecution over thousands of deaths in his anti-drug crackdown, after the court announced a probe into alleged crimes against humanity, his spokesman said Friday.
Duterte has overseen a crackdown on narcotics that according to official figures has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead at the hands of police, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.
"He is very confident that the prosecutor... will not go beyond a preliminary investigation," Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.
Roque said a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings in 2007 investigated Duterte's role in 1,069 alleged death-squad killings in the southern city of Davao while he was mayor.
The mission did not lead to Duterte's prosecution and Roque said the president expects the same outcome.
The Philippines leader is expected to comment on the ICC probe later Friday, in his first public appearance since it was announced.
Duterte won a landslide victory in 2016 elections largely on a pledge to eradicate drugs and has overseen the bloodshed since taking power.
In addition to the official toll, authorities are also investigating some 2,000 other cases of "drug-related" killings by unknown suspects.
Roque said Duterte welcomes the ICC prosecutor's inquiry as a means to clear his name, but insists the tribunal has no jurisdiction.
"Our domestic courts are able and willing to prosecute these crimes," Roque said.
"Moreover the alleged deaths attributed to the war on drugs is because of lawful police operations and cannot therefore constitute an attack against civilians which is required in the international crime of crimes against humanity."
The ICC on Thursday announced the unprecedented decision to launch two inquiries at once, one in the Philippines and a second on alleged abuses during Venezuela's political unrest.
Antonio Ledezma, a fierce critic of President Nicolas Maduro who fled Venezuela in 2015, said that "a humanitarian intervention is justified" in the country, given the brutality of the Caracas government.
Trudeau addressed a business conference in Mumbai on Tuesday morning, attended by leaders from the Tata conglomerate, IT giants Infosys and pharmaceutical major Jubilant Life Sciences.
The incident, which caused no injuries, is the latest in a string of accidents involving the US military that have prompted concern from Japanese officials and renewed criticism of the US military presence in the country.
Rest of the tanks will be delivered in April, forming a fully armored unit, says Iraqi Army Chief of Staff
Terrorists were reportedly plotting to attack Turkish bases
Israeli army says the attack came after rocket fire from Gaza
Trump's special representative has blamed Hamas for causing "misery" in Gaza
It is still a wide-open race to succeed President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is deeply unpopular heading into the final stretch of his six-year term in a Mexico beset by endless corruption scandals and record levels of violent crime.
His comments came as he faces criticism from survivors of the attack over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, and after several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control.
Temer came to the city to meet Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who will lead the operation and who was in charge of coordinating security when the city hosted the 2016 Olympic Games.
Muslims have suffered the most by far from ISIL’s terrorist attacks, Iraqi premier tells Munich Security Conference
Israel struck six targets affiliated with Hamas's armed wing in Gaza Strip, Palestinian security source says
Washington concurs with Ankara on need for locals taking control of liberated areas, says US defense secretary
Army uses live ammunition, rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza