President Rodrigo Duterte could face charges for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the spate of killings that followed his declared war on drugs, Senator Leila de Lima said.

According to the Inquirer, De Lima told a media interview that her claim was not meant to threaten the president but was based on fact.

“There are some experts who are saying that… if this spate of killings go unabated and unchecked, it could reach that point that the ICC could send a prosecutor to our country and investigate all these for possible prosecution under the Rome Statute,” she was quoted saying.

“This is not a joke. The last thing we need right now is for our dear president to be subjected to an investigation by an international tribunal like the International Criminal Court.”

“I am not threatening the president. I am just stating a fact,” she added.

De Lima pointed out that hundreds have been killed since the Duterte administration took over, and said this can be viewed as “widespread” and trigger greater international concern.

Should charges be brought against Duterte at the ICC, she warned, the president would not be protected by immunity.

Inquirer said its “Kill List” showed that a total of 601 drug suspects were killed since Duterte was installed last June. Other media reports say that in the same period, over 5,000 drug suspects have been arrested while nearly 600,000 have turned themselves in.

According to GMA Network, De Lima today also urged Duterte to keep close watch over the hearings to be held this month by the Senate committee on justice, which she chairs.

The committee will be holding a two-day inquiry on the drug killings beginning August 21.

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