Philippines’ Duterte says ‘not in a million years’ does ICC have right to try him

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has previously called the International Criminal Court “useless” and “hypocritical.” (Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2018

Philippines’ Duterte says ‘not in a million years’ does ICC have right to try him

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said there is no chance of him going on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), because “not in a million years” would it have jurisdiction to indict him.
The fiery-tempered leader is the subject of a Philippine lawyer’s complaint to the ICC accusing him of making killing “best practice” in his ferocious 19-month-old war on drugs.
The ICC last month said it had started a preliminary examination to establish whether it had jurisdiction, and if crimes against humanity had been committed.
“You cannot acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years,” Duterte said in a speech late on Tuesday.
“That is why I don’t respond to them. That’s the truth.”
He added: “Believe it. They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person.”
His government says the ICC has no grounds to get involved because the Philippine judiciary and legal system functions independently and effectively.
Duterte has previously called the ICC “useless” and “hypocritical.”
Though he says he would be open to any investigations by the United Nations and ICC, he last week told security forces they should not cooperate with them.
The government denies activists’ allegations that drug dealers and users are being systematically targeted for execution.
Police say they have killed about 4,100 drug dealers, in shootouts, but have no ties to unidentified armed men who have killed hundreds of drug users.
Duterte has also said the Philippines’ ICC membership might be invalid on a domestic level, because Manila’s 2011 accession to the ICC’s Rome Statute was not announced in the country’s official gazette.


Taliban aim to sign deal with US by end of month

Updated 18 January 2020

Taliban aim to sign deal with US by end of month

  • Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence
  • The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year

KABUL: The Taliban are aiming to reach a withdrawal agreement with the US by the end of January and are prepared to “scale down” military operations ahead of signing the deal, according to their chief spokesman.
The statement by Suhail Shaheen to Pakistani daily Dawn comes as the group and the US held discussions in Doha this week, after insurgent sources told AFP they had offered to initiate a brief cease-fire.
“We have agreed to scale down military operations in days leading up to the signing of the peace agreement with the United States,” Shaheen told Dawn in a report published Saturday.
He added that the Taliban were “optimistic” a deal with Washington could be signed before the end of the month and that the reduction in fighting across the country would also include the targeting of Afghan forces.
“It’s now a matter of days,” said the spokesman.
Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence, posing it as a condition for resuming formal negotiations on an agreement that would see US troops begin to leave the country in return for security guarantees, after a near two-decade fight.
The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process “dead,” citing Taliban violence.
Talks were later restarted between the two sides in December in Qatar, but were paused again following an attack near the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, which is run by the US.
Any agreement with the Taliban is expected to have two main pillars — an American withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a commitment by the insurgents not to offer sanctuary to militants — and would ultimately have to be given final approval by Trump.
The Taliban’s relationship with Al-Qaeda was the main reason cited for the US invasion more than 18 years ago.
A deal would hopefully pave the way for intra-Afghan talks.
Many observers agree that the war can no longer be won militarily, and that the only route to a lasting peace in Afghanistan is for an agreement between the Taliban and the US-backed government in Kabul.
The Taliban have until now refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime, raising fears that fighting will continue regardless of any deal ironed out with the Americans.

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