March 23, 2018

Philippines Withdraws From ICC

14 March 2018, 06:58 | Taylor George

The ICC announced in February that it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Mr Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs Credit AP

The ICC announced in February that it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Mr Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs

Duterte said Wednesday that the court can not have jurisdiction over him because the Philippine Senate's ratification in 2011 of the Rome Statute that established the court was never publicized as required by law.

The President could not also detach immediately from the ICC since Article 127 of the Rome Statute, which the Philippines ratified in 2011, provides that the "withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date".

In his statement, Duterte cited "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

"An global law can not supplant, prevail or diminish a domestic law", he said, adding that the ICC announcement of an investigation on the drug war is a "violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence".

However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the worldwide tribunal.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization located in The Hague, which prosecutes individuals convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.

Critics expressed shock at Duterte's decision, saying he was trying to escape accountability and fearing it could foster an even worse human rights situation in the country.

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.

Lagman further pointed out that the withrawal can not derail the ongoing preliminary examination of Duterte's alleged crimes against humanity in relation to his administration's drug war.

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But Duterte pointed out that the actions of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein showed "international bias and refusal" to support the country's efforts at self-determination, national building and independence from foreign influence and control.

This amid the court's preliminary examination of charges against the President, among them crimes against humanity for alleged abuses under his fierce anti-narcotics campaign. Duterte complained that statements from United Nations officials showed they had already found him guilty.

The large-scale anti-drug campaign known as the war on drugs was launched by Duterte in June 2016 as a follow up to his election promises to end drug-related crimes in the country.

Duterte "welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and exhausted of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity", Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced.

It seems that Duterte would rather withdraw from the institution.

The case stems from a complaint filed before the global court in 2017 accusing the Philippine president of ordering the killings "repeatedly, unchangingly, and continuously".

"President Duterte's withdrawal from the Rome Statute is meant to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity".

Created in 1998 through the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over 124 of its members, including the Philippines.

Last month, he indicated he would cooperate with the ICC examination and even said he would prefer a firing squad to prison. In the country, a law must be published in the Official Gazette or newspapers before it takes effect, he said.

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