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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Duterte's claim on Rome Statute ratification 'grossly incorrect'

A LAWMAKER said it is "grossly incorrect" for President Rodrigo Duterte to claim that the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, a treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), is invalid as it was not published in a newspaper of general circulation.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said in a statement that what the President is invoking -- Article 2 of the Civil Code -- does not mention any international agreements.

The said law states that "any laws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or the alternative publication in a newspaper of general circulation."

Lagman said this provision applies only to laws enacted by Congress and not to international agreements like the Rome Statute.

Lagman stressed that the Rome Statue has its own effectivity clauses.

"Under Article 126 of the Rome Statute in relation to Article 125, the ratification by the Philippines became effective on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the deposit of such instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations," Lagman said.

Last week, Duterte withdrew the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, saying it is being used as a political tool to harass the country.

The ICC has since urged Duterte to change his mind as the government's decision, it said, could affect the global efforts to fight impunity.

The United Nations said Monday, March 19, that it received the official notification of the Philippines' decision but "the withdrawal shall take effect for the Philippines one year after the date of receipt, i.e., on March 17, 2019."

READ: UN: Philippines' pullout from ICC is effective in 1 year

The move of the administration to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute came months after the ICC announced that it will conduct a preliminary examination on the administration's drug war in action to the complaint filed by lawyer Jude Sabio against Duterte.

But the ICC said Wednesday, March 21, that the country's decision will not derail an ongoing preliminary probe into possible crimes committed during the administration's war on drugs.

It cited a decision in another case which said that the ICC retains jurisdiction over crimes committed when a country was an ICC member even after withdrawal. (With AP/SunStar Philippines)

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