Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Philippines Plans to Withdraw From International Criminal Court

Philippines Plans to Withdraw From International Criminal Court

President Rodrigo Duterte will withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute, the treaty the established the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a statement released to reporters in Manila on Wednesday.

Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, also said Tauli-Corpuz and another Filipina rapporteur are embarrassing the Duterte administration when they publicly expressed on the possible escalation of militarisation in Mindanao, especially among the "lumad" (indigenous peoples).

"Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute, and that there is clear bias on the part of the United Nations against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute", Duterte said in a statement, referring to the court's founding treaty.

In February, the ICC launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Duterte.

Duterte dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and Congressman Gary Alejano sent a supplementary communication several months later urging an ICC investigation, which included a list of public statements made by Duterte that they said amounted to "shoot-to-kill" orders.

However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the worldwide tribunal. "The Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory and the law I am supposed to be charged under is not effective not enforceable in the Philippines", he added.

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He said Callamard has depicted him as a "ruthless violator of human rights and directly responsible" for alleged extrajudicial killings without showing any proof and merely relying on news reports and accusations of his critics.

The preliminary examination is not an investigation, the ICC said, but a process to see if there is basis to proceed with an investigation. This was Duterte's response to UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who suggested last week that the island nation's president should undergo a psychiatric examination because of his colorful comments.

"The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill", he added.

"The ICC has no juridiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person".

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

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

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