Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC

Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC
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Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet of UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, reads the note verbale handed by Locsin. (Photo released by Department of Foreign Affairs)
Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC
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Screen grab of Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s post on Twitter.
Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC
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The Philippines' letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres. (DFA photo)
Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC
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Screen grab of Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s post on Twitter.
Updated 16 March 2018

Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC

Philippines formally informs UN of withdrawal from ICC

MANILA: The Philippines on Friday formally informed the UN of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
This comes two days after President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines would withdraw ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, “effective immediately.”
As reasons for the withdrawal, Duterte cited what he said appears to be a “concerted effort” by UN officials to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extra-judicial killings,” and violations of due process by the ICC.
The decision reflects the Philippines’ “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights,” Manila said.
It assured the international community that it continues to be guided by the rule of law, and affirmed its “commitment to fight against impunity for atrocity crimes, notwithstanding its withdrawal from the Rome Statute.”
The government said it “remains resolute in effecting its principal responsibility to ensure the long-term safety of the nation in order to promote inclusive national development and secure a decent and dignified life for all.”
The countdown for the one-year withdrawal period from the ICC officially started on Thursday.
In explaining Manila’s decision, Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano pointed to a “well-orchestrated campaign” to mislead the international community and “crucify” Duterte by distorting the human rights situation in the country.
“It is doubly lamentable that members of the international community, who include our own partners in the war against terror, have allowed themselves to be used as pawns by these individuals and organizations in undermining our own efforts to restore the rule of law,” Cayetano said in a statement.
He added that “there is no crime or liability to speak of” since the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs is a legitimate law enforcement operation designed to protect all Filipinos and uphold the rule of law.
It has always been the position of the Philippines that states have the inherent responsibility to adopt and implement measures, consistent with their respective laws, to effectively address threats to the safety and wellbeing of their citizens, Cayetano said.
He added that Duterte has identified the proliferation of illegal drugs, and its link to other forms of criminality, as a serious threat that had to be immediately addressed.
“The campaign we are waging against illegal drugs is consistent with the sovereign duty of any State to protect its people,” Cayetano said.
“Contrary to what some parties are trying to make it appear, there is no failure on the part of the Philippine Government in dealing with issues, problems, and concerns arising from this campaign.”
Duterte first threatened to withdraw from the ICC in November 2016, following Moscow’s move to cut ties with the court, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called “ineffective and one-sided.”
But Russia’s action was largely symbolic because like the US, it has not ratified the treaty and so is not under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
Last month, Duterte said he welcomed the ICC’s decision to conduct a preliminary examination on alleged drug killings in the Philippines.
“I hope you come… I welcome you, and if you want to find me guilty, go ahead. So be it,” he said. But on March 6, he said the ICC “cannot acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years.”