12:21Philippine President Duterte Declares Withdrawal From Int'l Criminal Court

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday that he will withdraw his country immediately from the International Criminal Court, in the latest clash with global institutions probing his deadly war on drugs.

Roque said he had discussed the ICC issue for two hours the previous night with Duterte, a former prosecutor, adding that the president more than willing to face trial.

The complaint, which says Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos during his war on drugs, was "a waste of the court's time and resources" and the examination would be the end of the process, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

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".

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". "The withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date".

According to media reports, Duterte is dissatisfied with "attacks" on him and his administration from the part of United Nations officials as well as an "attempt" by the ICC to place him under the court's jurisdiction.

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

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in the past 19 months in a brutal crackdown that has alarmed the worldwide community. Meanwhile, the ICC has started its initial review on the Philippines' situation, specifically on Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.

An ICC prosecutor announced last month that she was opening a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings stemming from Duterte's anti-drug crackdown.

Dutertee said he could no longer see the need to be ICC's state-party, since the global court failed to observe the principle of complementarity, the principle of due process, and the presumption of innocence prevail.

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2000 and ratified it in 2011, becoming its 117th State Party.

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.

"An worldwide law can not supplant, prevail or diminish domestic law".

He also stressed that the criminal acts hurled against him "do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction".

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