Philippines to quit International Criminal Court: Duterte


In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

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.

It is only when the one-year period lapses that Duterte can say that the Philippines is no longer a member-state of the International Criminal Court. "Instead, they have taken the cowardly option of trying to evade justice".

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

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.

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However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the worldwide tribunal.

Police say they have killed almost 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times that number.

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.

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.

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

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The prime minister says the president of the Philippines was receptive to concerns he raised about human rights.

He said: "In short, since the ICC has already commenced with proceedings regarding President Duterte's war on drugs, it has the authority to proceed and the Philippine government has the obligation to cooperate with an investigation, regardless of the notice of withdrawal".

Congressman Carlos Isagani Zarate likewise slammed the withdrawal as "ominous" and a "grave setback to human rights and accountability".

"For all the bluster of the present administration in the manner it launched its bloody wars, this withdrawal also means that it is gravely petrified of the long arm of the law and accountability".

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. If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows prisoners to be executed by firing squad.

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