Rights groups: PH withdrawal from ICC won't halt proceedings vs Duterte

Violet Powell
March 15, 2018

"I therefore declare and forthwith give notice... that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute, effective immediately", he said in a statement released to media on Wednesday.

He said the ICC probe amounted to "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

Duterte also invoked presidential immunity from lawsuits, which he said prevents the ICC from investigating him while he is in office.

Under ICC rules, a state's withdrawal takes effect one year after the worldwide tribunal receives notification of its decision to leave.

"The ICC was ratified by the Senate".

The ICC, an intergovernmental organization that investigates cases of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression, was established by the Rome Statute, which was created in 2002.

Duterte has been threatening to pull out of the Hague-based worldwide tribunal since the start of his presidential term in mid-2016.

"This is a misguided and deeply regrettable move by President Duterte, and the latest signal that powerful individuals in the Philippines are more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings than they are in ensuring justice for the many victims of the country's brutal "war on drugs".

Mr. Duterte said the ICC was "being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines" after its prosecutor "prematurely" announced a preliminary examination of allegations against him relating to killings amid his campaign against illegal drugs. Duterte previously said not in a million years would the ICC have jurisdiction over him.

Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson also called on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

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She signed a criminal citation with a promise to appear in court at a later date and was released to her fiancee. In fact, the state's law allows for legal consequences even if someone is impaired to a slight degree.

Roque also discredited the merits of the crime against humanity lodged against the administration's drug war before the ICC.

He said the worldwide criminal court has also been utilized as a "political tool against the Philippines" following the implication of culpability the preliminary examination by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bansouda "unduly and maliciously created".

"There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the United Nations special rapporteurs to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings", Duterte said.

Duterte "welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and exhausted of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity", Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced.

He also threatened to cancel the Philippines' ICC membership and said European lawyers were "rotten", "stupid", and had a "brain like a pea".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a review of a decision by state prosecutors to dismiss complaints against several suspected drugs kingpins, amid outrage among the public and some of his allies about them walking free.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty that created the worldwide court.

"Also, we can not get out of ICC jurisdiction just like that". In the country, a law must be published in the Official Gazette or newspapers before it takes effect, he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops during the 82nd anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila.

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