Duterte to withdraw Philippines from ICC after 'outrageous attacks'

  14 March 2018    Read: 1049
Duterte to withdraw Philippines from ICC after

The Philippines said on Wednesday it is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to what President Rodrigo Duterte called “outrageous” attacks by U.N. officials and violations of due process by the ICC.

The decision marks an about-face by Duterte, who initially welcomed a preliminary ICC examination announced last month into a complaint, filed by a Philippine lawyer, that accuses him and top officials of crimes against humanity, committed during a war on drugs that has killed thousands of people.

A 15-page statement, dated March 13 and not signed by Duterte, said the withdrawal from the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, was “effective immediately”.

That was confirmed separately by Duterte’s spokesman and his legal counsel, who both said the ICC’s examination was part of a plot by the president’s enemies.

Duterte’s statement said the withdrawal was because of “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” by U.N. officials, and what he said was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him “in violation of due process and presumption of innocence”.

ICC spokesman Fadi el Abdallah referred most questions to the court’s prosecutors, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

Duterte’s war on drugs has caused international alarm and fierce criticism from some U.N. rapporteurs and officials, including U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who on Friday said Duterte should submit himself for a psychiatric examination.

The maverick former mayor has sparred relentlessly with critics and refused to change his approach, or accept that police may have executed suspected dealers, as activists allege.

Police deny allegations of murder and cover-ups and say they killed about 4,100 drug dealers in shootouts. Police say they have no ties to armed men responsible for the deaths of about 2,300 drug users and peddlers.

Duterte, who is hugely popular among Filipinos, has no love for the ICC, calling it “useless” and “hypocritical”.



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