President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Sept 16 (Mabuhay) –The Human Rights Watch sees the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the drug killings in the Philippines as a “much-needed” check on President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement on Thursday, HRW senior Philippines researcher Carlos Conde pointed out the families of those killed in the drug war, as well as the survivors, can now hope that perpetrators could be held accountable.

“The International Criminal Court’s decision to open an investigation into brutal crimes in the Philippines offers a much-needed check on President Rodrigo Duterte and his deadly ‘war on drugs,’” he said.

“Victims’ families and survivors have reason to hope that those responsible for crimes against humanity could finally face justice.”

On Wednesday, the ICC authorized the start of the investigation into the killings in the Philippines’ drug war.

According to the ICC, its Pre-Trial Chamber 1 has granted then-Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s June 14 request to probe crimes related to the anti-drug campaign from November 1, 2011 to March 16,2019.

The ICC said that a “specific legal element of crime against humanity of murder” has been met with respect to Duterte’s war on drugs in the period from July 1, 2016 — the day after President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office as chief executive — until March 16, 2019, the day before the Philippines formally exited the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

Malacañang has already declared that the ICC will not be able to compel the Philippines to cooperate with the investigation. (MNS)

READ NEXT: Palace maintains ICC has no jurisdiction over Philippines