Thursday, 17 January, 2019


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
Bennie Garza | 14 March, 2018, 17:54

The confrontation between Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has escalated after the defiant leader moved to withdraw Manila from the Rome Statute.

'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.

In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

"If the Philippines truly believed that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, they should challenge that in the proper way - which is at the ICC".

Police say they have killed almost 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in the past 19 months in a brutal crackdown that has alarmed the worldwide community.

Duterte, however, argues that the Philippines can do as it pleases because he rejects the agreement as a whole.

In response, a majority of the Philippine senators signed a resolution declaring that termination or withdrawal from the worldwide agreement is only "valid and effective" with their consent. On several occasions, he called the worldwide body "useless" following ICC calls for probes into Duterte's notorious 'war on drugs.' . However, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) estimate that up to 12,000 people could have fallen victim to the notorious campaign.

Under ICC rules, a state's withdrawal takes effect one year after the global tribunal receives notification of its decision to leave. Some have been killed in what police said were shootouts.

But the preliminary examination is only the first step in a long process that could take years - if the ICC even proceeds with an investigation.

But Article 127 of the Rome Statute also explicitly says that criminal investigations and proceedings that have been started before the withdrawal came into effect will still continue. The Philippines filed and largely won the arbitration case.

Once the office of Guterres receives the letter, the Philippine government has to wait for a year before the withdrawal takes effect.

Under previous President Benigno Aquino, the Philippines ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.

"I will gladly do it for my country", Duterte said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes said Duterte was withdrawing "because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC".

Baguilat hopes that Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., a former human rights lawyer who had pushed for the ratification of the Rome treaty, can provide better advice to the President. The campaign has led to thousands of deaths among suspected drug users and dealers.

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