Duterte is­sues no­tice fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into drug war

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

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.”

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