Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Philippines' Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

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Ellis Copeland | 14 March, 2018, 11:46

MALACAÑANG said Wednesday, March 14, that President Rodrigo Duterte has chose to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"Anyone without bias can see that President Duterte has made positive efforts since assuming office to combat drug-related crimes as well as terrorism, develop the national economy, and improve people's livelihood, which have effectively protected and promoted the Philippine people's fundamental rights to security and development", Lu said in a briefing in Beijing.

"I confirm that PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] has directed the ES to give notice that we are withdrawing as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court", the statement reads.

United Nations (UN) created the Rome Statute in 1998 which established the ICC.

The ICC last month started a preliminary examination to establish whether crimes against humanity may have taken place during Duterte's deadly war on drugs, and whether the ICC had jurisdiction to take on the case.

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the UN Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said, after Duterte's government sought to get a UN investigator, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

In addition, the United Nations and ICC are conducting investigations into Duterte's alleged extrajudicial killings as the Philippine government wages a full-on war against drug lords. But on Wednesday he said the ICC had shown a "brazen ignorance of the law" and claimed that the Rome statute was fraudulently implemented in the Philippines to begin with and therefore not "effective or enforceable".

The Philippine government insists the ICC has no business looking at the war on drugs, because its courts and legal processes are functional and independent.

"As demonstrated above, the very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory to the Rome Statute have not been observed nor complied with hence the Philippines hereby withdraws from the Rome Statute", he added.

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Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.

Ms Callamard is leading a United Nations investigation into the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and claims that Mr Duterte has tried to "intimidate" her and her fellow special rapporteurs.

He also stressed that the criminal acts hurled against him "do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction".

"The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill", he added.

Four months into the campaign, when the death toll stood at several thousand, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was "deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings".

Roque called the complainants "domestic enemies of the state" and said the ICC had no jurisdiction.

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

Duterte, however, maintained that the ICC will never have jurisdiction "over [his] person", as worldwide law "cannot supplant, prevail or diminish" a domestic law.

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