PH to withdraw from ICC

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will withdraw his country's ratification of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Rome Statute, due to what he said were attacks by United Nations officials and violations of due process by the ICC, according to a draft statement.

The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a "preliminary examination" of Mr Duterte's bloody anti-drug crackdown that has drawn worldwide concern.

Harry Roque, a spokesperson for President Duterte, said in response that the ICC lacked jurisdiction over the case, calling the ICC a "court of last resort". He said the Rome Statute that established the tribunal for heinous leaders can not be enforced in the Philippines because it has not been made public as required by law after Filipino senators ratified it in 2011.

Thousands of mostly poor drug suspects have been killed under Duterte's crackdown, but he has argued that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity or genocide.

But the maverick former mayor has hit back strongly and refused to change his approach, or accept that police may have executed suspected dealers, as activists allege.

The Philippine government insists the ICC has no business looking at the war on drugs, because its courts and legal processes are functional and independent.

Police claim they have killed almost 4,000 drugs suspects, while rights groups suggest the figure could be far higher. Police say they have no ties to armed men responsible for the deaths of about 2,300 drug users and peddlers. He even said he would prefer a firing squad than life in jail.

He has recently changed his tune, telling security forces not to cooperate should there be any global investigation.

In a rare written statement to the media, Mr Duterte said that the Philippines will withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty underpinning the court. "It adds that the withdrawal "shall take effect one year" after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date".

The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute that underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil. Meanwhile, the ICC has started its initial review on the Philippines' situation, specifically on Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.

Senator Antonio Trillanes, who filed supplementary communications to support Sabio's complaint, said the withdrawal was flip-flopping by Duterte, who "knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article