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Philippines to withdraw from ICC

March 14, 2018

The decision comes after the ICC launched an investigation to see if crimes against humanity occurred in the country. Human Rights Watch says that since Duterte took office, his war on drugs has killed more than 12,000.

Philippinen | Walk-for-Life-Proteste in Manila
Image: Reuters/R. Ranoco

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced his country would be withdrawing from the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Rome Statute, due to what he called attacks from UN officials, according to a draft statement.

The ICC in February launched a preliminary examination to determine if crimes against humanity may have occurred during Duterte's deadly war on drugs, and whether the ICC had jurisdiction to take on the case.

Read more: Will Filipinos rise up against President Rodrigo Duterte?

"I, therefore, declare and forthwith give notice...that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately," Duterte said in a statement.

In the statement, which still needs to be signed by the president, Duterte said the decision had been made following "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration" by UN officials.

Read more: Will the ICC prosecute Philippine President Duterte?

He said the ICC was attempting to seek jurisdiction over him, which was "in violation of due process and presumption of innocence."

Killing made 'best practice'

The ICC investigation began after Philippine lawyer Jude Sabio filed a complaint with the court last year, accusing Duterte of making killing "best practice" in his crackdown on drugs.

Last week, Duterte said that there was no chance he would go on trial at the ICC because "not in a million” years would the ICC have jurisdiction to indict him.

"Believe it. They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person," Duterte said.

Read more: No drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines?

Duterte has labeled the ICC "useless" and "hypocritical” and last week told security forces they should not cooperate with the UN and ICC, despite previously saying he would be open to any investigations by them.

The ICC is a court of last resort and only intervenes when a government is found to be unwilling or unable to do so.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had last week said the ICC would find it had no jurisdiction in the Philippines and no crime to investigate, "because Philippine courts are able and willing."

Philippines: Addicts and Withdrawal

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law/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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