Duterte moves to withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court

Intl Criminal Court: Philippines withdraws

The Philippines is pulling out its support from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in protest against the "baseless" and "outrageous" attacks against the administration as well as violations of due process, President Duterte announced Wednesday.

The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.

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

Founded in 2002, the court can prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling.

The ICC last month started a preliminary examination to establish whether crimes against humanity may have taken place during Duterte's deadly war on drugs, and whether the ICC had jurisdiction to take on the case.

Intl Criminal Court: Philippines withdraws

"You can not acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years", Duterte said last week.

It is "intended to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity", Zarate said. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill, ' he added.

He added that the deaths were the result of police defending themselves, "a justifying circumstance under our criminal law, hence they do not incur criminal liability".

He said the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, had without any proof "pictured me as a ruthless violator of human rights" who was directly responsible for homicide.

The ICC in February began a preliminary investigation into Mr Duterte's controversial crackdown on the narcotics trade.

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines because the country's ratification to the Rome Statute was not published on the Official Gazette.

Senator Antonio Trillanes said Duterte was withdrawing "because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC". The London-based rights group Amnesty International called the withdrawal "misguided" and "cowardly".

Mr. Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the global community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

Duterte's office released a written statement Wednesday that Manila is "withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately", referring to the 1998 treaty that created the ICC. It further provides that "a State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute".

The large-scale anti-drug campaign known as the war on drugs was launched by Duterte in June 2016 as a follow up to his election promises to end drug-related crimes in the country.

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"Whether he likes it or not, he will be held accountable".

Duterte's defiance is among the traits that make him wildly popular in the Philippines, where his crackdown has broad support.

Zeid demanded that the Human Rights Council, which counts the Philippines among its 47 member countries, "must take a strong position" on the issue, and insisted "these attacks can not go unanswered". He said: "How can you examine when the state party is no longer a member, has withdrawn?"

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