Philippines Duterte war on drugs
7 October 2016: Suspects are rounded up during an anti-drugs operation at an informal settlers' community in Manila Noel Celis/AFP

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, 13 October, vowed to investigate extrajudicial killings reportedly taking place during his war on drugs. In an interview with the Doha-based Al Jazeera, Duterte said his campaign would continue to press against alleged drug-dealers and criminals.

He said, "You destroy my country — I'll kill you. And it's a legitimate thing," he said. "If you destroy our young children, I will kill you. That is a very correct statement. There is nothing wrong in trying to preserve the interests of the next generation."

It was "bad" that innocent people and children have been killed in the clampdown, he added. When questioned if there would be investigations into the cases, he said "Yes, of course, of course." But he also indicated that the investigations might not result in criminal liability.

"This is the law of my land. Here is a policeman, here is a gangster. He's armed with an M-16 [assault rifle], the gangster only with a pistol. But when they meet they exchange fire. With the policeman with his M-16 there's one burst and he hits 1,000 people there and they die. There's no criminal liability."

An estimated 3,000 people have died in the bloody drug-related crackdown in the country since Duterte took office in June. The extrajudicial killings have been widely denounced by activists and world leaders.

On Thursday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda said that she was "deeply concerned" about the alleged extrajudicial killings and "the fact that public statements of high officials of the republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings."

She added, "Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence... within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court."