Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

PH withdraws from Rome Statute

PH withdraws from Rome Statute

President Rodrigo Duterte has chose to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of a United Nations treaty that created the International Criminal Court, just as the international body started its preliminary examination of the charges against the Filipino leader in connection to the war on drugs.

In February, the ICC launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Duterte.

The complaint, which says Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos during his war on drugs, was "a waste of the court's time and resources" and the examination would be the end of the process, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Duterte said the Philippines would revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute "effective immediately".

Since then, over 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed by Philippine National Police officers or unknown gunmen, according to Human Rights Watch.

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.

The outspoken leader, who is accused of stoking the killing of drug suspects with inflammatory statements, has fiercely pushed back since the Philippines became the first southeast Asian nation put under "preliminary examination" by the court's prosecutors.

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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.

In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

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 President's statement is also a complete turnaround from an earlier statement, when he said he welcomed the ICC probe and that he would speak to an ICC representative one-on-one.

Duterte also argued that ICC does not have jurisdiction over his person since the Rome Statute could not actually be enforced in the country.

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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