Philippines' Duterte moves to quit International Criminal Court

Lester Mason
March 14, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says his country is withdrawing its ratification of a world treaty that created the International Criminal Court, where he's facing a possible complaint for crimes against humanity.

"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", Duterte said in a statement, adding the ICC examination was "unduly and maliciously created".

In a statement sent to Palace reporters on Wednesday, March 14, Duterte slammed the ICC's "brazen display of ignorance of the law" because of its supposed attempt to place him under its jurisdiction.

He also referred to what he claimed was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him "in violation of due process and presumption of innocence".

In a 15-page statement released to the media, the President made a decision to withdraw the country's signature from the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the ICC, following what the President said was the lack of respect and clear bias against his government.

Article 127 of the Rome Statute provides that "a state may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), withdraw from this Statute".

It said the move was due to the "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration" by United Nations officials, and what he said was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him "in violation of due process and presumption of innocence".

"I therefore declare and forthwith give notice. that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately", he added.

Since then, over 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed by Philippine National Police officers or unknown gunmen, according to Human Rights Watch. Meanwhile, the ICC has started its initial review on the Philippines' situation, specifically on Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.

Duterte's decision to remove the Philippines as one of the signatories of the Statues comes after the ICC said it could investigate Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity involving extrajudicial killings resulting from his administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

The preliminary examination is not an investigation, the ICC said, but a process to see if there is basis to proceed with an investigation.

The ICC announced last month it was launching a study of the killings, which Philippine police put at 4,000 but rights groups say is actually triple that number.

But Duterte pointed out that the actions of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein showed "international bias and refusal" to support the country's efforts at self-determination, national building and independence from foreign influence and control.

Duterte, however, maintained that the ICC will never have jurisdiction "over [his] person", as global law "cannot supplant, prevail or diminish" a domestic law.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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