Rodrigo Duterte says he will pull Philippines out of ICC, amid investigation into deadly drugs war
Posted On July 26, 2020
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday that he will withdraw his country immediately from the International Criminal Court, in the latest clash with global institutions probing his deadly war on drugs.
In a rare written statement to the media, Mr Duterte said that the Philippines will withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty underpinning the court.
“I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately” he said.
Mr Duterte justified turning his back on the court due to the “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration,” by UN officials.
He also referred to what he claimed was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him “in violation of due process and presumption of innocence.”
The Hague-based ICC announced in February that it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Mr Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs, which has unleashed an orgy of violence and extrajudicial killings, sparking international alarm.
The decision to investigate followed a complaint filed by a Philippine lawyer accusing Mr Duterte and his top officials of crimes against humanity. The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian nation to be put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor.
The police say they have killed nearly 4,000 drug suspects in the course of the campaign, an official figure that comes on top of many thousands who have been gunned down by unknown masked assassins since Mr Duterte took power in mid-2016.
The maverick president, who frequently utters expletive-ridden rants against his critics, initially welcomed the ICC probe, reported Rappler.
“The president welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and tired of being accused of the committing of crimes against humanity,” presidential spokesman, Harry Roque said in early February.
In quotes | Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines
He also dared the ICC to indict him, saying he was willing to rot in jail to save Filipinos from drugs that he claimed were destroying the country.
More recently, however, he has warned his security forces not to comply with international investigators, stating that the ICC would “not in a million years” have jurisdiction to indict him.
The latest confrontation follows a fraught week in which UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein suggested that Mr Duterte had his head examined by a psychiatrist because of his “foul” outbursts including a threat to “slap” a special rapporteur on the drugs war.
The president retorted over the weekend that UN investigators should be fed to crocodiles.
Mr Duterte’s plans to immediately withdraw may be thwarted by an ICC rule that allows states to exit the court only after giving one year’s notice.
He claimed to the local press that the delay did not apply as the agreement was allegedly fraudulent in the first place, implying that the Philippines had been misled about what it was signing up to.