Philippines to Withdraw from the ICC Immediately: Duterte

Philippines to Withdraw from the ICC Immediately: Duterte

Philippines to Withdraw from the ICC Immediately: Duterte

"Coupled with the implication of culpability that the preliminary examination by the prosecutor Fatou Besouda unduly and maliciously created, it is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines", Duterte said in a statement distributed to media.

How could the Duterte administration now explain why and how a self-confessed drug distributor, who even testified before the Senate about his involvement in the drug trade, and an alleged drug supplier, who the President himself accused publicly of being a drug lord and even threatened to kill him, elude justice while thousands of drug users and low-ranking drug pushers are killed without due process?

Should the Philippines withdraw from the court it would not be the first to do so, as Burundi became the first nation to leave in October 2017.

"If the President believes that he is innocent of the charges lodged against him, if the countless extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under his bloody drug war are just the product of our imagination, and if his government's war against drugs is not abusive and corrupt, he has nothing to fear from the ICC, " she pointed out.

He reiterated that Duterte was willing to face the allegations against him but the ICC had no jurisdiction over him.

The ICC has urged the Philippines to reconsider its decision, since it is one of the few Asian countries that have ratified the Rome Statute, while human rights organisations said a withdrawal from the ICC does not exonerate Duterte from his alleged crimes.

"It is doubly lamentable that members of the worldwide community, who include our own partners in the war against terror, have allowed themselves to be used as pawns by these individuals and organizations in undermining our own efforts to restore the rule of law", Cayetano added.

The Philippines has given official notice to the United Nations that it will exit the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court, the government said Friday.

The letter makes no mention of the withdrawal being "effective immediately" as Duterte insisted in his press statements announcing the country's bid to withdraw from the ICC.

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And last month, as the ICC announced its preliminary inquiry, the UN Human Rights Council questioned the Philippines' human rights record and called on the country to accept a UN special rapporteur.

Is Duterte afraid of the ICC?

They said Mr Duterte's decision was an admission of guilt and a sign that he was panicking.

"This campaign against President Duterte and the Philippines is being effectively carried out by elements who seek to undermine our government and who have successfully infiltrated the human-rights community and weaponized human-rights protection mechanisms to advance their goal of overthrowing our democratically installed government", Cayetano said.

"Duterte should be investigated", said Bishop Pabillo.

The Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the ICC. How could it counter the criticisms that the war on drugs is mainly targeting the poor?

In a January report, Human Rights Watch said Duterte's "war on drugs" has led to the deaths of over 12,000 Filipinos, mostly urban poor.

The statute says withdrawal from the agreement takes effect a year after the United Nations secretary general receives a written request to leave. He argued Wednesday that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or similar atrocities.

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