Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

The ICC, an intergovernmental organization that investigates cases of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression, was established by the Rome Statute, which was created in 2002.

The country still must a formal notice to withdraw from the tribunal.

"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.

"On the merits, one of the elements of the crime against humanity is murder, which is the crime of unlawful killing, and that any killing in connection with the drug war could not be unlawful killing because they are valid, legitimate police action", Roque said.

Lagman further pointed out that the withrawal can not derail the ongoing preliminary examination of Duterte's alleged crimes against humanity in relation to his administration's drug war.

"Duterte can not stop worldwide accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute".

Publicly declaring in speeches that a country will withdraw will not automatically jumpstart the process.

Duterte, however, argued that there was "fraud" committed in the process of making the Philippines sign the agreement, thus Manila has the right to withdraw "effective immediately".

"Since this administration is so convinced that its drug war is justified and that there are no human rights violations then it should have nothing to fear about being investigated by the ICC", Baguilat said.

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But he soon changed his tune, telling security forces not to cooperate in any worldwide investigation, and that "not in a million years" would the ICC have jurisdiction.

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. He has refused to accept some police may be systematically executing suspected dealers, as activists say.

But Article 127 of the Rome Statute also explicitly says that criminal investigations and proceedings that have been started before the withdrawal came into effect will still continue.

Once the office of Guterres receives the letter, the Philippine government has to wait for a year before the withdrawal takes effect.

The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC.

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

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.

"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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