Duterte pulls Philippines from International Criminal Court


Philippines withdraws from the International Criminal Court

Several African nations have withdrawn from the ICC and others have refused to prevent targetted leaders from visiting their countries.

"An worldwide law can not supplant, prevail or diminish a domestic law", he said, adding that the ICC announcement of an investigation on the drug war is a "violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence".

"Instead of trying to desperately evade his worldwide obligations and escape accountability for his actions, President Duterte should just recognize the ICC processes and accord it due respect, " she said.

"To prove that it's not a way of evading or getting away from consequences or the jurisdiction of ICC ... even if we withdraw, our actions back when we're a member are still covered", he said as quoted by the state-run Philippine News Agency.

The move came barely a month after the ICC launched a preliminary examination into thousands of deaths linked to Mr Duterte's signature war on drugs campaign.

But he soon changed his tune, telling security forces not to cooperate in any worldwide investigation, and that "not in a million years" would the ICC have jurisdiction.

The Philippines said yesterday that its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be "the beginning of the end" for the institution, as more countries would follow suit and non-members would be discouraged from joining.

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

"Duterte intends to impose his fascist and tyrannical tendencies even against global critics", said Sarah Elago, a representative of the opposition Kabataan party.

The president also said United Nations special rapporteurs - likely referring to Agnes Callamard the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings - had been undertaking a "concerted effort" to paint him as a "ruthless and heartless" violator of human rights.

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"A withdrawal would have no impact on on-going proceedings or any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective", the ICC said.

Panelo insisted Duterte was not afraid, but objected to the ICC becoming "a political tool to harass a particular country, like ours".

Roque, who was a prominent advocate for the Philippines' joining the ICC in 2011, said he was saddened by the President's decision but he supports Duterte's move.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, in a television interview on Wednesday night, said the anti-drug war can still be probed by the ICC.

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

President Duterte's latest pronouncement might have damned him more as he might have unwittingly displayed his guilt over the crimes he stands accused of, Hontiveros said.

There is no investigation against Duterte himself so far.

The spokesman, however, defended the decision of the President to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC despite the effort he had put into the country's membership. How could it counter the criticisms that the war on drugs is mainly targeting the poor?

The statute says withdrawal from the agreement takes effect a year after the United Nations secretary general receives a written request to leave. "Detaching from the Rome Statute is abandoning a global bastion for the protection of human rights", Lagman said.

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