Duterte withdraws from ICC 'effective immediately'

MALACAÑANG said Wednesday, March 14, that President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The withdrawal was made amid the ICC's preliminary examination of allegations of human rights violations against Duterte in line with his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement sent to Palace reporters on Wednesday, March 14, Duterte slammed the ICC's "brazen display of ignorance of the law" because of its supposed attempt to place him under its jurisdiction.

The President said the ICC's alleged move to have jurisdiction over him was "in violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Statute."

The Philippines ratified the Rome Statute in August 2011, making it a member-state of the ICC.

Article 127 of the Rome Statute provides that "a state may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), withdraw from this Statute." It adds that the withdrawal "shall take effect one year" after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date."

Duterte said the Philippines would revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute "effective immediately."

He stressed that that ICC's rule on the withdrawal of a state party would no longer apply for the reason "that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement," noting that the UN seemed to have a "concerted effort" to "paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extra-judicial killings."

"Given the baseless and unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the International Criminal Court special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court,... I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately."

The UN has sought to send a special rapporteur to the Philippines to investigate Duterte's war on illegal drugs that so far led to the deaths of thousands of suspected drug personalities. Meanwhile, the ICC has started its initial review on the Philippines' situation, specifically on Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has decided to look into the Philippines' drug-war, on the ground of legal counsel Jude Sabio's 77-page communication, accusing Duterte of committing crimes against humanity for purportedly inciting the killings of alleged drug offenders in the country.

Dutertee said he could no longer see the need to be ICC's state-party, since the international court failed to observe the principle of complementarity, the principle of due process, and the presumption of innocence prevail.

"When the Philippine government made itself a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the internationally accepted principles of justice in relation to our Constitutional requirement on due process will be upheld," Duterte said.

"The very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory of the Rome Statute have not been observed nor complied, with hence the rescission of such agreement or the withdrawal of the our country's ratification of the Rome Statute is in order," he added.

Duterte, however, maintained that the ICC will never have jurisdiction "over [his] person," as international law "cannot supplant, prevail or diminish" a domestic law.

He also stressed that the criminal acts hurled against him "do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction."

"The International Criminal Court prematurely made a public pronouncement of a preliminary examination, which effectively created the impression that I am to be charged in the International Criminal Court for serious crimes falling under its jurisdiction. All these acts are in violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence," said Duterte.

"The ICC has no juridiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person. The Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory and the law I am supposed to be charged under is not effective not enforceable in the Philippines," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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