Philippines Withdraws from International Criminal Court

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

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.

"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 Zeid has also taken aim at Mr Duterte, saying that he "needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation" for describing Ms Callamard as "malnourished" and referring to ICC prosecutor Fatou Besouda as "that black woman".

The lawmaker pointed to Article 127 of the statute which states that any withdrawal "shall come into effect one year after receipt of notice".

The Philippines became the 117th state party to the Rome Statute in August 2011 following Senate ratification of the treaty.

Established in 1998, the ICC is tasked with prosecuting people accused of war crimes, genocide and other high crimes when domestic courts are unwilling or unable to investigate allegations or prosecute suspects.

Amnesty International criticized Duterte's move.

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.

"Fortunately for those victims, Duterte's announced withdrawal comes too late to stop the ICC's preliminary examination and the Philippines' obligations towards the court".

Police said almost 5,000 suspects have been killed in shootouts during drug raids since Mr Duterte took office in mid-June.

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.

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

In a statement, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said the government's withdrawal from the worldwide court does not terminate the ICC's ongoing preliminary examination.

"The government is grossly mistaken in believing that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over events in this country".

By withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the ICC, the president is following in the footsteps of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and also The Gambia, which cited racism against "people of colour, especially Africans" as a reason for leaving.

Ms Callamard is leading a United Nations investigation into the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and claims that Mr Duterte has tried to "intimidate" her and her fellow special rapporteurs.

He said when the Philippines became a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the global accepted principles of justice in relation to its constitutional requirement on due process would be upheld.

Talk of a possible ICC investigation into Duterte's bloody crackdown on drug use has been ongoing since the start of his presidency, but the Philippine president has dismissed such rhetoric and criticism as "bullshit".

Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.

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