Philippines withdraws from ICC

Who is Rodrigo Duterte

Who is Rodrigo Duterte

MALACAÑANG said Wednesday, March 14, that President Rodrigo Duterte has chose to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has made a decision to look into the Philippines' drug-war, on the ground of legal counsel Jude Sabio's 77-page communication, accusing Duterte of committing crimes against humanity for purportedly inciting the killings of alleged drug offenders in the country.

"There being no publication of the said law, it stands to reason that the Rome Statute cannot be enforceable in the Philippines hence the International Criminal Court has not acquired nor can it acquire jurisdiction over my person", he said.

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in the past 19 months in a brutal crackdown that has alarmed the global community.

However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the global tribunal.

Roque said he had discussed the ICC issue for two hours the previous night with Duterte, a former prosecutor, adding that the president more than willing to face trial. "Even assuming that ICC can have jurisdiction over my person still the acts complained of purportedly committed by me do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction", Duterte said.

He said Bensouda likewise gave a "premature public announcement" about a preliminary examination into the government's anti-drug campaign.

Duterte, who is buoyed by high popularity ratings in the Philippines, has fiercely defended the drug war as a battle to bring safety to the nation's 100 million people.

Trillanes said the examination "should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law".

He stressed that that ICC's rule on the withdrawal of a state party would no longer apply for the reason "that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement", noting that the United Nations seemed to have a "concerted effort" to "paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extra-judicial killings".

"I confirm that PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] has directed the ES to give notice that we are withdrawing as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court", the statement reads.

Duterte said it was this "violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Statute" that led to the decision.

He reiterated that the drug-related killings "lacked the intent to kill" and were merely the result of legitimate police operations.

Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.

Duterte, however, maintained that the ICC will never have jurisdiction "over [his] person", as worldwide law "cannot supplant, prevail or diminish" a domestic law.

Duterte also argued that ICC does not have jurisdiction over his person since the Rome Statute could not actually be enforced in the country.