Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted for the first time to "extra-judicial executions" during his term as part of an anti-drug campaign that has officially killed nearly 5,000 suspected drug users and drug traffickers.
"My only sin is extra-judicial executions," Duterte said in a speech at Malacanan Palace yesterday. The information is contained in a statement distributed by the presidential cabinet.
The statements of the Philippine head of state can be used in the International Criminal Court, which is examining two complaints lodged against Duterte.
The "war on drugs" began when Duterte was sworn in, just over two years ago. The then new head of state has given permission for the Filipino police to shoot suspects who offer resistance to arrest.
According to official data from the Philippine Anti-Drug Agency, 4,854 suspects were killed in police operations, and 155,193 detained, in 108,058 actions taken by security forces in the country since Rodrigo Duterte began his mandate. Human rights organizations, such as Human Right Watch or Amnesty International, speak of 15,000 people killed in the anti-drug campaign, in which "vigilantes" and armed neighborhood groups also participate.