DUTERTE TO PULL PHILIPPINES OUT OF ICC
Duterte issues notice following investigation into drug war
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday he was pulling the Philippines out of the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is examining his deadly drug war.
“I declare and give notice... that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately,” Duterte said in a statement.
The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s bloody antidrug crackdown that has drawn international concern.
Police said they had killed nearly 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claimed the toll was around three times the numbers given by authorities.
The outspoken Philippine leader, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, has taken issue over the Philippines becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor.
Opened in 2002, 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.
The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.
Duterte, a former lawyer, attacked the ICC’s preliminary examination into his anti-narcotics campaign, saying it was “unduly and maliciously created”.
“It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines.”
In his statement, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration”.
“The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurred in the process of legitimate police operations that lacked the intent to kill.”