Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Philippines president Duterte pulls out of International Criminial Court over 'outrageous attacks'

Philippines president Duterte pulls out of International Criminial Court over 'outrageous attacks'

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, for his part, said that President can not, by himself, decide to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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.

On Wednesday he repeated that defence, citing "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

Duterte said the global court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines" over its attempts to put him under its jurisdiction amid an inquiry into his war on illegal drugs.

According to Villarin, the Senate passed a resolution a year ago which requires Senate concurrence if the country withdraws from a treaty.

Mr. Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the global community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

"This is a misguided and deeply regrettable move by President Duterte, and the latest signal that powerful individuals in the Philippines are more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings than they are in ensuring justice for the many victims of the country's brutal "war on drugs".

The President's decision came following the ICC's decision to open a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes committed in his bloody war on illegal drugs. "I will gladly do it for my country", Duterte said.

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. "Neither it is a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity", the president said in his statement.

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"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", said Mr Duterte.

He said the worldwide criminal court has also been utilized as a "political tool against the Philippines" following the implication of culpability the preliminary examination by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bansouda "unduly and maliciously created". Duterte complained that statements from United Nations officials showed they had already found him guilty.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate.

The ICC announced last month it was launching a study of the killings, which Philippine police put at 4,000 but rights groups say is actually triple that number.

Senator Antonio Trillanes said Duterte was withdrawing "because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC".

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

The Philippines is a signatory to the Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty that created the global court.

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

"President Duterte's withdrawal from the Rome Statute is meant to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity".

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