Duterte withdrawing Philippines 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 Credit AP

The Philippines said on Wednesday it is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to what President Rodrigo Duterte called "outrageous" attacks by United Nations officials and violations of due process by the ICC.

Can the Philippines immediately cease being a member of the International Criminal Court?

Countries can only withdraw one year after announcing their withdrawal, according to the guiding principles of the ICC.

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.

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.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017.

"I imagine this will be an global embarrassment for the Philippines", said Hilbay, remarking that the country had once been seen as a regional leader in human rights.

Russian Federation in 2016 dealt the ICC another blow by withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute.

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.

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He added: "However, President Duterte won't save himself from ICC investigation by withdrawing the Philippines as a State Party to the Rome Statute".

Among them was Congressman Antonio Tinio, who said the withdrawal the was "utterly self-serving and driven by sheer panic at the prospect of a trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity related to his murderous war on drugs".

An ICC prosecutor announced last month that she was opening a preliminary examination into possible crimes against humanity over alleged killings in Duterte's drug crackdown, angering the president.

The Hague-based tribunal announced last month that it had opened a preliminary examination of a complaint filed past year by a Philippine lawyer over the president's anti-drug campaign, which has left 4,000 dead since Duterte took office in 2016.

The president's decision has been widely criticised by human rights advocates and his political foes.

"Whether he likes it or not, he will be held accountable".

"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".

The statement, which has yet to be signed by Duterte, was given to reporters by presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, who confirmed to Reuters that the document was authentic.

"Because the prosecutor herself violated the principle upon which we agreed to become a member of the court, it is justified for the country to withdraw", he said.

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