GENEVA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines should be formally investigated by judicial authorities in his country for murder after he claimed to have killed people suspected of committing crimes, the top human rights official at the United Nations said Tuesday.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, was responding to comments that Duterte made at a news conference Friday in which he said that he had shot and killed “about three’’ men during his years as mayor of the southern city of Davao.
Those killings would “clearly constitute murder,’’ Hussein said in a statement Tuesday. “It should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted being a killer.’’
Duterte, 71, has said that as mayor he roamed Davao on a motorcycle and killed people to encourage the city police to take strong action against criminals. He has previously said that the three men he shot were suspected of rape and kidnapping.
But Duterte’s actions violated the Philippine Constitution and international law, Hussein said, and that by encouraging others to follow his example Duterte might also have committed incitement to violence.
The president’s comments stoked further controversy over a crackdown unleashed on drug addicts and dealers after he took office in June.
New York Times