The rights group urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into crimes against humanity in the violent crackdown, including the deaths of an estimated 60 young people by police and vigilantes. Some of those killed were deliberately targeted in anti-drugs raids, while others were caught in the crossfire. There have also been “riding in tandem” attacks, carried out by vigilantes on motorcycles, which are often paid for by police, Amnesty said.
Relatives of some of the victims told the rights group how they witnessed police fatally shooting children at point blank range as they were begging for mercy.
The killing by police of a 17-year-old student, Kian Delos Santos, in August, sparked nationwide protests in the Philippines after CCTV footage emerged of him being dragged along the street by two plain clothes officers, casting doubt on police claims he was shot in self defence. More than 12 police officers have been investigated for the Santos killing after the case received international attention, but no one has yet been held to account.