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Duterte withdrawing Philippines from Int'l Criminal Court

14 March 2018

Duterte said Wednesday that the worldwide court can not acquire jurisdiction over him.

"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.

The leader cited in a statement "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" against him and his administration as the reason for withdrawing from the court, which hears cases of genocide and war crimes.

"An worldwide law can not supplant, prevail or diminish a domestic law", he said, adding that the ICC announcement of an investigation on the drug war is a "violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence".

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

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

Opened in 2002, the ICC is the world's only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.

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The campaign has been sharply criticized by the global community and human rights groups.

But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers.

The ICC in February began a preliminary investigation into Mr Duterte's controversial crackdown on the narcotics trade.

"Crucially, withdrawal from the Rome Statute does not extinguish the Philippines government's obligations to put an end to human rights violations, and to provide measures for accountability for any crimes committed".

Roque said the country will comply with all the proper procedures in withdrawing from the ICC.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Friday that Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist over his crude comments, including a threat to slap U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, and the inclusion of U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on a list of alleged communist terrorists operating in the country.

"There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the United Nations special rapporteurs to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings", Duterte said.

Duterte withdraws from ICC 'effective immediately'
The President also argued that the ICC neither has jurisdiction to try him nor has a war crime to investigate. Duterte dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said Duterte "has no authority to withdraw from the ICC on his own".

A Philippine lawyer filed the initial ICC complaint against Duterte and at least 11 senior officials in April 2017, saying crimes against humanity were committed "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" and killing drug suspects and other criminals had become "best practice".

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

Duterte also argued that ICC does not have jurisdiction over his person since the Rome Statute could not actually be enforced in the country.

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

"I'll be there", he apparently said to the ICC.

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Duterte withdrawing Philippines from Int'l Criminal Court