Philippines to withdraw from International Criminal Court

Philippines to withdraw from International Criminal Court

President Rodrigo Duterte [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday announced [press release] that he will immediately pull the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official site].

In a 15 page letter [text] to the media, Duterte declared that the Philippines will immediately withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute [text], which established the ICC and was ratified by the Philippines in late 2011. Under the statute, however, withdrawal can only occur one year after written notification is received by the United Nation’s Secretary-General. In response, Duterte claims that the agreement is immediately voidable because it was signed fraudulently:

The Philippines in ratifying the Rome Statute was made to believe that the principle of complementarity shall be observed; that the principle of due process and the presumption of innocence as mandated by our Constitution and the Rome Statue shall prevail; and that the legal requirement of publication to make the Rome Statute enforceable shall be maintained.

The announcement comes a few weeks after the ICC launched an investigation [JURIST report] against Duterte and his government regarding alleged human rights violations that have taken place during his violent crackdown [JURIST report] on drug trafficking. He claims that the investigation has resulted in:

baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the [ICC] special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the [ICC], in violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Statute

He also went on to argue that the United States failed to ratify the convention out of fear of a highly publicized, political prosecution, which Duterte claims to be subject to.

Since Duterte came to office in mid-2016, the police have officially reported [Facebook post] the death of almost 4,000 ‘drug personalities’ that were resisting arrest, while some opposition members of the government claim the death-toll to exceed 20,000 [Al Jazeera report].