ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

Philippines Withdraws from International Criminal Court

14 March 2018, 04:19 | Erica Roy

Duterte withdraws from international rights treaty following criticism of war on drugs


President Rodrigo Duterte has announced Wednesday that the Philippines is immediately withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, which is investigating his brutal anti-narcotics campaign.

It said the move was due to the "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration" by United Nations officials, and what he said was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him "in violation of due process and presumption of innocence".

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.

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute in 2000, and ratified and endorsed it in 2011.

The ICC is the world's only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling, which was opened in 2002.

Lagman further pointed out that the withrawal can not derail the ongoing preliminary examination of Duterte's alleged crimes against humanity in relation to his administration's drug war.

It is only when the one-year period lapses that Duterte can say that the Philippines is no longer a member-state of the International Criminal Court.

"The acts committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes".

"I imagine this will be an global embarrassment for the Philippines", said Hilbay, remarking that the country had once been seen as a regional leader in human rights.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines early January 30, 2017. "The self-defence employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law, hence, they do not incur criminal liability".

The Philippines is a signatory to the Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty that created the worldwide court. At that time, he suggested that he might withdraw from the ICC, calling it a "useless" institution. South Africa also withdrew in 2016 following criticism that it hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir at an African Union summit, despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

Human rights activists say Duterte's vow to kill thousands of illicit drug dealers have led police to carry out extrajudicial killings of suspected dealers and users.

'I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review (the) dismissal, ' Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, quoted the president as saying during a joint command conference with police and military officials on Tuesday evening.

However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the global tribunal. It further provides that "a State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute".

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