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An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental

authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments
are mostly seen by humanity to be unethical, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction
in which they occur.[citation needed] Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union,
dissident, religious, and social figures and are only those carried out by the state government or other
state authorities like the armed forces or police, as extra-legal fulfillment of their prescribed role. This
does not include cases where aforementioned authorities act under motives that serve their own
interests and not the state's, such as to eliminate their complicity in crime or commissioning by an
outside party.[1]

Section 3(a) of the United States Torture Victim Protection Act contains a definition of extrajudicial

a deliberate killing not authorized by a previous judgement pronounced by a regular constituted court
affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. Such
term, however, does not include any such killing that, under international law, is lawfully carried out
under the authority of a foreign nation.[2][a]

Extrajudicial killings and death squads are common in Syria,[3][4][5] Iraq,[6][7][8][9][10]

Egypt,[11][12][13][14][15] Libya,[16] Central America,[17][18] India,[19][20][21] Mexico,[22]
Colombia,[23] Brazil,[24][25][26][27][28] Venezuela,[29][30] Indonesia,[31] Afghanistan,[32]
Pakistan,[33] Bangladesh,[34][35][36] several nations or regions in Africa,[37][38][39][40][41] including
the Democratic Republic of the Congo[42] and Burundi,[43][44] Jamaica,[45][46][47] Kosovo,[48]
Russia,[49][50] Uzbekistan, parts of Thailand,[51] Turkey,[52][53][54][55][56] in the
Philippines,[57][58][59][60][61][62][63] Tajikistan,[64][65] Papua New Guinea,[42][66][67] and by Israeli
forces.[68][69][70] One of the most recent issues regarding extrajudicial killing has been the debate
about the legal and moral status of targeted killing by unmanned aerial vehicles by the United States.

A TOTAL of 3,257 extrajudicial killings (EJKs) were committed during the Marcos dictatorship. In
contrast, there were 805 drug-related fatalities from May 10 (when Rodrigo Duterte emerged winner of
the presidential election) to Aug. 12, per the Inquirer count.
If the current rate continues, the total number of EJKs for the six years of the Duterte administration will
end up about 700 percent more than the killings committed during the 14 years of the Marcos

President Duterte is either ill-advised or terribly underestimating the risk that he can be held liable at
the International Criminal Court, given the circumstances of the killings.

In 2011, the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court.
Under this treaty, every Filipino, including the President, can be tried by this Court which has jurisdiction
over crimes against humanity. The treaty provides that when murder is committed as part of a
widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,
it becomes a crime against humanity.

The possibility that the current EJKs will be considered by the International Criminal Court as amounting
to a crime against humanity is a liability risk that our President is miscalculating.

Ruben Carranza, director of the New-York-based International Center for Transitional Justice, points out
that [w]hen over 500 civilians have been killed by both police and vigilantes with the clear goal of
targeting them in a war against drugs, with their impunity explicitly guaranteed by the president, then
the elements of EJKs as a crime against humanity of murder are already there(a) widespread or
systematic killings, (b) civilians are targeted, and (c) the perpetrators know or intended their conduct to
be part of a widespread or systematic attack.

On Aug. 11, Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque delivered a privilege speech in which he said: It is clear
that the civilian population is being attackednews reports all around us overwhelmingly establish that
hundreds of Filipinos have been killed either directly by governmental forces or with their support or

Roque likewise said: It is also clear that the President is aware that these acts are ongoing. Even
without proof of a directive on his part, he has, in many instances, spoken about the use of violence
against drug syndicates.
Roque cited the decisions of international criminal tribunals which prosecuted political and military
officials for crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. These tribunals
declared that it is not necessary to show that [the crimes committed] were the result of the existence
of a policy or plan and that the plan need not be declared expressly or even stated clearly and
precisely. It may be surmised from the occurrence of a series of events.

The party-list representative cautioned the President to be careful: While it would be imprudent for me
to say with certainty that President Duterte has already committed a crime against humanity, it would
be a disservice to this entire nation if I did not warn him to be careful. Neither the Rome Statute nor
general international law prescribes a minimum number of victims for an indictment. So long as the
[International Criminal Court] believes that the war on drugs is widespread and systematic, [it is] likely
to investigate.

The President enjoys immunity under Philippine law, but he has no similar immunity for crimes under
the International Criminal Courts jurisdiction. Carranza says the presidents of Sudan and Kenya were
charged in the court even during their incumbency. And there is no expiration of liability for ICC crimes,
so he can be charged even long after he leaves Malacaang.

The determination of Mr. Duterte to cleanse the country of the drug menace and his willingness to risk
his life, honor, and the presidency to achieve this goal are praiseworthy.

However, we are at that stage of our civilization where we have long abandoned the ancient practice of
relying on operatives to dispense justice through the smoking barrel of their guns. We have advanced
our civilization by relying on gun-wielding men to apprehend criminals, but have separately assigned the
task of listening to accusations of guilt and protestations of innocence to men and women who mete out

It is true that our current justice system is notoriously imperfect and graft-prone. But we do not improve
our way of life by marching back to the Dark Ages where justice is made synonymous with violence. We
improve our defective justice system by fixing it, not by abandoning it.
It is true that the proliferation of drugs is partly due to corrupt judges. But it is also true that illegal drugs
proliferate because of a corrupt police force and a corrupt prosecution service, both of which are
executive agencies within the Presidents control to reform.

It is also true that before our children become drug dependents who clog police and court dockets,
there are the education, health, and social welfare departments which are executive agencies within the
Presidents control to tap for instructive, reformative, and curative solutions to the drug menace.

We want our President to succeed in his fight against illegal drugs. But in his haste and zeal, he may end
up accused of a crime more serious than the ones perpetrated by his archenemies. The last thing our
country needs is a President facing trial at the International Criminal Court.