Duterte pulls Philippines out of International Criminal Court over drugs war probe

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (REUTERS File Photo)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Duterte pulls Philippines out of International Criminal Court over drugs war probe

MANILA: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over investigations into alleged human rights abuses in his war on drugs.
Duterte announced on Wednesday that the Philippines would withdraw ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, “effective immediately.”
The ICC has begun preliminary investigations into Duterte in connection with human rights violations in the country’s crackdown on drugs. The campaign has caused thousands of deaths since 2016.
In a statement released to reporters, Duterte said: “There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the United Nations special rapporteurs to paint him as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings.”
Duterte said the ICC’s “premature announcement” of a preliminary investigation created the impression that he would be charged with serious crimes under its jurisdiction.
“All these acts are in violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence,” he said.
“The attempt to place me under jurisdiction of ICC is a brazen display of ignorance of the law. The ICC has no jurisdiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person,” Duterte said.
He said that the Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory “is not effective nor enforceable in the Philippines.”
The Philippines ratified the Rome Statute in 2011.
Duterte said that “an international law cannot supplant, prevail or diminish a domestic law.”
“The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. Neither is it a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity,” he said.
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.” The withdrawal “shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date.”
Stephen Cutler, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation legal envoy, told Arab News that Duterte’s position will have to be argued before the ICC.


India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Updated 22 September 2018
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India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

  • Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
  • Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”

DELHI: India’s prime minister was under fire over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after comments by former French President François Hollande. Hollande was quoted as saying Narendra Modi’s government had influenced the choice of a local partner.
Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
The opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, spent the past year alleging that the deal is a scam, in which India is overpaying for jets and the government is allowing a private company — billionaire Indian businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense — to benefit instead of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
On Friday, Hollande, who cleared the intergovernmental deal when he was in office, was quoted as saying New Delhi had put pressure on Dassault to choose Reliance.
“We had no choice. We took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was reported as telling the French news service Mediapart, fueling a political storm in India.
The Indian government, however, has insisted all along that it had nothing to do with Dassault’s decision to work with Reliance Defense.
Under Indian defense procurement rules, a foreign firm must invest at least 30 percent of the contract in India to help to build up its manufacturing base and wean off imports.
HAL was the sole contender for being the local partner of Dassault Aviation, but when the deal was sealed in 2015 during Modi’s Paris trip the Reliance Defense procured the contract .
“The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to ...Anil Ambani,” said Mr. Gandhi in a tweet.
Gandhi further tweeted: “The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a ... SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defense forces. Modi Ji you dishonored the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India’s soul.”
Gandhi repeated the charge in a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
The BJP, however, says that there is no corruption.
“The fact that two sovereign heads of States negotiated a deal means that there is no room for corruption,” said Sudesh Verma, BJP spokesperson.
Talking to Arab News Verma emphasized that “the highest integrity was maintained in the deal. Now the Congress is not talking of corruption but favoritism. Merely by saying that Reliance Defense was favored by us would not cut any ice. These are insinuations and are irresponsible.”
Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”
“No matter what the indian government says that perception is that the Indian government gave the offset contract to Anil Ambani, a guy who has no history of producing defense equipment,” says Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi based political analyst.
He added: “The halo around Modi has been severely diminished after the recent revelations. This is something which it would be very difficult to live it down now.”