Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Duterte to withdraw Philippines from ICC for 'violations of due process'

President Rodrigo Duterte President Rodrigo Duterte
Sammy Stanley | 14 March, 2018, 11:13

The Commission on Human Rights urges the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop attacking human rights defenders.

Duterte's repeated criticisms of human rights defenders and the inclusion of United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz in a terrorist list, United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Friday suggested that Duterte needs to undergo a "psychiatric evaluation".

"As demonstrated above, the very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory to the Rome Statute have not been observed nor complied with hence the Philippines hereby withdraws from the Rome Statute", he added. "The statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is being treated very seriously. I take full responsibility", Mr Duterte said.

The statement had not been signed by Duterte, but presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo confirmed it was authentic.

Last year, Amnesty International said the alleged extrajudicial killings by police "may constitute crimes against humanity".

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

It included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, who was listed as a senior member of a Maoist rebel group.

"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", he said.

"I think that would be the correct response of any member state of the United Nations", Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

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

"The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill", he added.

By withdrawing the country's ratification of the statute, the Philippines expects that the ICC would no longer have jurisdiction over it.

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

"There being no publication of the said law, it stands to reason that the Rome Statute cannot be enforceable in the Philippines hence the International Criminal Court has not acquired nor can it acquire jurisdiction over my person", he said.

The President's statement is also a complete turnaround from an earlier statement, when he said he welcomed the ICC probe and that he would speak to an ICC representative one-on-one.

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

"I confirm that President Duterte has directed the Executive Secretary to give notice that the Philippines is withdrawing as a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC", reported China's Xinhua news agency.

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