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Duterte withdraws from ICC 'effective immediately'

14 March 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte will withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute, the treaty the established the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a statement released to reporters in Manila on Wednesday.

Roque's statement came a few minutes after Duterte's office issued a draft statement that he has chose to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC. The ICC, established in 1998, is the first permanent worldwide court created to prosecute persons for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

Congressman Antonio Tino said that the move 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".

Duterte dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a "court of last resort" and the Philippine courts were fully functioning.

Duterte has made his contempt for the ICC well-known in the past, calling it "bullshit", "hypocritical" and "useless", but in his statement on Wednesday, he went further, accusing the court of violating its own due process and depriving him of the right of innocence until proven guilty.

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When the Philippines ratified the Rome statute in 2011 - nine years after it came into force - it was seen as a big step forward for human rights in Asia.

Under ICC rules, a state's withdrawal takes effect one year after the global tribunal receives notification of its decision to leave.

The Philippine government insists the ICC has no business looking at the war on drugs, because its courts and legal processes are functional and independent. "The Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory and the law I am supposed to be charged under is not effective not enforceable in the Philippines", he added.

Mr Duterte has been accused of "crimes against humanity" before the ICC for these extrajudicial killings.

Zeid said Duterte's attacks against UN special rapporteurs can not go unanswered and the UN Human Rights Council must take a position.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein defended the independence, impartiality and expertise of special rapporteurs in the face of smear and hate campaigns, some involving incitement to violence.

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He said Bensouda likewise gave a "premature public announcement" about a preliminary examination into the government's anti-drug campaign.

The President also argued that the ICC neither has jurisdiction to try him nor has a war crime to investigate.

Police say they have killed about 4,100 drug dealers in shootouts during official operations.

Cayetano said the Philippines was bothered by "the manner in which a ranking United Nations human rights official can overstep his mandate".

Roque called the complainants "domestic enemies of the state" and said the ICC had no jurisdiction.

"An worldwide law can not supplant, prevail or diminish domestic law".

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Duterte withdraws from ICC 'effective immediately'