Philippines' President Duterte to withdraw from International Criminal Court

  • Philippines' President Duterte to withdraw from International Criminal Court

Philippines' President Duterte to withdraw from International Criminal Court

Founded in 2002, the court can prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling.

Local media reported on Monday, that the country's senate had filed a resolution saying the country's withdrawal from worldwide treaties would only be valid with its consent.

"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", Duterte said in a statement, adding the ICC examination was "unduly and maliciously created".

Among them was Congressman Antonio Tinio, who said the withdrawal the was "utterly self-serving and driven by sheer panic at the prospect of a trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity related to his murderous war on drugs".

The ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, revealed in February that it is launching a "preliminary examination" of Duterte's war on drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Filipinos.

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

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017.

Publicly declaring in speeches that a country will withdraw will not automatically jumpstart the process. The Philippines comes under the its jurisdiction because it is a member, and pulling out can not impact jurisdiction retroactively.

Ms Callamard is leading a United Nations investigation into the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and claims that Mr Duterte has tried to "intimidate" her and her fellow special rapporteurs. "Neither is it a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity", he said.

The preliminary examination is not an investigation, the ICC said, but a process to see if there is basis to proceed with an investigation.

"Also, we can not get out of ICC jurisdiction just like that".

"You can not acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years", Duterte said last week. He has refused to accept some police may be systematically executing suspected dealers, as activists say. However, the 72-year-old said that he is not planning to wait, and that the withdrawal would take place immediately.

But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers.

Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, said the ICC was "siding with the enemies of the president", while Duterte's legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the accession to the Rome Statute in 2011 was never announced in the Philippines official gazette, thus did not apply.

"President Duterte's withdrawal from the Rome Statute is meant to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity".

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