Philippines' Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Philippines' Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

President Rodrigo Duterte has made a decision to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of a United Nations treaty that created the International Criminal Court, just as the international body started its preliminary examination of the charges against the Filipino leader in connection to the war on drugs.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has chose 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.

"You can not acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years", he said.

"I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately" he said.

Duterte bewailed that the global court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines", citing its baseless attempt to place him under its jurisdiction amid an inquiry into his war on illegal drugs.

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Duterte complained that statements from United Nations officials showed they had already found him guilty.

In addition, the United Nations and ICC are conducting investigations into Duterte's alleged extrajudicial killings as the Philippine government wages a full-on war against drug lords.

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.

The preliminary examination is not an investigation, the ICC said, but a process to see if there is basis to proceed with an investigation.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.

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In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

"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.

He reiterated that the drug-related killings "lacked the intent to kill" and were merely the result of legitimate police operations. In the country, a law must be published in the Official Gazette or newspapers before it takes effect, he said.

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

"An global law can not supplant, prevail or diminish domestic law".

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