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

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (REUTERS File Photo)
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.