Duterte moves to withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court

Duterte moves to withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court

President Duterte is pulling the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of its efforts to investigate him for possible crimes against humanity during his bloody campaign against drugs.

He said the ICC probe amounted to "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

"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 acts committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes". He said 1,400 individuals were killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad under the leadership of then Mayor Duterte, and 7,000 individuals were killed in the government's war on drugs since Duterte took office.

The statement however contradicts his previous comments about the drugs war, including his willingness to "slaughter" drug addicts and dealers in order to stamp out the problem from the country.

The ICC announced on February 9 a preliminary examination into allegations Philippine police have killed thousands of alleged users or dealers as part of Duterte's anti-drug war that he launched after taking office in mid-2016.

"Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute, and that there is clear bias on the part of the United Nations against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute", Duterte said in a statement, referring to the court's founding treaty. It relies on on local powers to arrest and bring suspects to the as it has no police force of its own. He said the Rome Statute that established the tribunal for heinous leaders can not be enforced in the Philippines because it has not been made public as required by law after Filipino senators ratified it in 2011.

Local media reported on Monday, that the country's senate had filed a resolution saying the country's withdrawal from global treaties would only be valid with its consent.

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Rights advocates and attorneys said quitting the court would not eliminate the possibility of a case before it.

Mallari, the law professor, said the ICC might decide that the Philippine justice system is not working properly because the key agencies are under control of close allies of Duterte.

Duterte, who is buoyed by high popularity ratings in the Philippines, has fiercely defended the drug war as a battle to bring safety to the nation's 100 million people.

Adding pressure on Manila, in February, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva raised the country's human rights record, with Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson calling on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

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.

"You can not acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years", Duterte said last week.

Police insisted on Wednesday they had strong cases against the suspects.

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