Russia respects, understands Duterte's decision to leave ICC

RUSSIA understands and respects the Philippine government's decision to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to the investigation the court is conducting on the country's war on drugs, an official said.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said the Russian government fully understands the reasons of President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw from the Rome Statute ratification, which will result in the ICC losing jurisdiction over the Philippines.

He said just like the Philippines, the Russian government also signed the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, years ago but they never rectified such document, which later on led to their withdrawal.

"In our assessment, the ICC is not a (actual) judicial body. All its activities are highly politicized and it is used as an instrument to put political pressure on selective government, on selective countries so we cannot accept such an approach," he said.

The Philippines inked the Rome Statute on December 28, 2000 and ratified and endorsed it in August 2011, under the watch of then President Benigno Aquino III.

Last week, Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that based in Duterte's order, which is "effective immediately," he is withdrawing the country's membership to the ICC.

The withdrawal came after the ICC started its investigation on the alleged massive human rights violation in the country due to the government's crackdown against illegal drugs.

The ICC is investigating particularly Duterte and other government officials who were allegedly ordering the killings of the drug suspects.

Duterte, for his part, expressed willingness to cooperate in such investigation but later on said the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.

“The deaths occurring in the process of a legitimate police operation lacked the intent to kill. The self-defense employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law, hence they do not incur criminal liability,” Duterte said.

He also slammed the ICC, particularly United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, for being biased claiming they are being used as political tools against the administration.

"Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute and that there is clear bias on the part of the UN against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute," he said. (SunStar Philippines)

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