Duterte withdrawing Philippines from Int'l Criminal Court

Who is Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte said Wednesday that the court can not have jurisdiction over him because the Philippine Senate's ratification in 2011 of the Rome Statute that established the court was never publicized as required by law.

In a 15-page statement released to the media, the President made a decision to withdraw the country's signature from the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the ICC, following what the President said was the lack of respect and clear bias against his government.

On Wednesday he repeated that defence, citing "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

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

The Philippines became the 117th state party to the Rome Statute in August 2011 following Senate ratification of the treaty.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization located in The Hague, which prosecutes individuals convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.

Mr. Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the global community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

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.

The President's decision came following the ICC's decision to open a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes committed in his bloody war on illegal drugs.

"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. On several occasions, he called the worldwide body "useless" following ICC calls for probes into Duterte's notorious 'war on drugs.' .

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

He said the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, had without any proof "pictured me as a ruthless violator of human rights" who was directly responsible for homicide.

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

Duterte has warned he would put Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre in jail if both Lim and Espinosa go free, 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.

Duterte bewailed that the global court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines", citing its baseless attempt to place him under its jurisdiction amid an inquiry into his war on illegal drugs.

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

Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.

The one-year period is "not applicable in so far as the effect of the withdrawal of the Philippines as a signatory to the Rome Statute is concerned, for the reason that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement", according to the Philippines president.



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