Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced that the country will withdraw from the International Criminal Court "effective immediately", just weeks after the tribunal announced its investigation on possible crimes against humanity over his deadly war on drugs. Others called the move a foreign policy blunder that could embolden China to scoff at Manila's victory in an worldwide arbitration case against Beijing over contested territories.

An ICC prosecutor announced last month that she was opening a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings stemming from Duterte's anti-drug crackdown.

Philippine lawyers say Duterte's withdrawal will not stop any ICC inquiry. He called the failure to make the ratification public a "glaring and fatal error".

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".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines early January 30, 2017. "The self-defence employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law hence do not incur criminal liability". They are two of Duterte's strongest critics. Duterte's war on drugs has left hundreds of suspects dead and sparked global inquiries.

Duterte said last month he wasn't threatened by ICC complaints against him.

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.


"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".

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.

Last Friday, the United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, suggested that Duterte "needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation" over his "unacceptable" remarks about some top human rights defenders. But human rights activists insist more than 20,000 were dead in the brutal anti-drug war that has mostly targeted the country's poorest districts.

Duterte has acknowledged his rough ways and tough approach to crime, but suggested many Filipinos have come to accept him.

Duterte had previously threatened to withdraw from the global body as a result of what he has called a politically slanted inquiry. "Neither it is a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity", the president said in his statement.

Another opposition lawmaker, Tom Villarin, said Duterte's action "would have unprecedented repercussions on our worldwide standing as a sovereign state".

He said it will also encourage China to scoff at the Philippines' victory at the UN Arbitral Tribunal over the West Philippine Sea and physically wrest sovereignty over the Philippine islands. The Philippines says that is far from the case.

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