December 18, 2018

Philippines president Duterte pulls out of International Criminial Court over 'outrageous attacks'

14 March 2018, 06:58 | Devin Moran

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte demands review of dropped cases vs alleged drug kingpins


But human rights activists insist more than 20,000 were dead in the brutal anti-drug war that has mostly targeted the country's poorest districts.

President Duterte is pulling the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of its efforts to investigate him for possible crimes against humanity during his bloody campaign against drugs.

He also threatened to cancel the Philippines' ICC membership and said European lawyers were "rotten", "stupid", and had a "brain like a pea". At that time, he suggested that he might withdraw from the ICC, calling it a "useless" institution.

"Also, we can not get out of ICC jurisdiction just like that. This is ominous of an even worse human rights situation in the country", he said.

'I therefore declare and forthwith give notice. that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately, ' Duterte said in a statement.

"Coupled with the implication of culpability that the preliminary examination by the prosecutor Fatou Besouda unduly and maliciously created, it is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", he said.

With the move, the administration expects the ICC to no longer have jurisdiction over the chief executive.

"Duterte can not stop worldwide accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute".

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

The prime minister says the president of the Philippines was receptive to concerns he raised about human rights.

Mr Duterte has been accused of "crimes against humanity" before the ICC for these extrajudicial killings.

"The Philippines' intention to walk away from the ICC is unfortunate, but it doesn't shut the door on the prosecutor's scrutiny of the government's horrendous track record of grave abuses. I will gladly do it for my country", Duterte said.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said Duterte "has no authority to withdraw from the ICC on his own". The Philippine Senate was responsible for ratifying the treaty.

"Also, withdrawal from ICC takes effect 1 [year] after notification & [without] prejudice to any pending matter".

Jude Sabio, the lawyer who filed the ICC complaint previous year, said Duterte's move was predictable, futile and created to appeal to his base.

Lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People's Lawyers, called the move "a cop out".

Trillanes said the examination "should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law". "They are patently self-serving and unilaterally rearranges the cosmos of worldwide law and its principles".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and President Trump during Trump's Philippine visit.

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

"On the merits, one of the elements of the crime against humanity is murder, which is the crime of unlawful killing, and that any killing in connection with the drug war could not be unlawful killing because they are valid, legitimate police action", Roque said.

He said when the Philippines became a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the worldwide accepted principles of justice in relation to its constitutional requirement on due process would be upheld.

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