The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Thursday that she will open preliminary examinations into the so-called "war on drugs" campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines and, separately analyze alleged crimes committed by Venezuela related to the demonstrations and ongoing political unrest there.

"Following a careful, independent and impartial review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes potentially falling within the jurisdiction of the [Court], I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation," ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced.

Since 1 July 2016, it has been alleged that thousands of people in the Philippines have been killed for their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing. While some killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is suspected that many incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations, according to the Court.

In Venezuela, the ICC will analyze alleged crimes committed since at least April 2017, in which State security forces frequently used excessive force to disperse and quell demonstrations, arresting and detaining thousands of opposition members – a number of whom would have been allegedly subjected to serious abuse and ill-treatment in detention.

Reports also affirm that some protestors resorted to violence, killing and injuring security forces, said the Court.

Statement of ICC Prosecutor on opening Preliminary Examinations in the Philippines and in Venezuela

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