The Philippines officially withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday, becoming the second country to withdraw after Burundi, which left in 2017.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced the country was withdrawing from the court a year ago, but court rules require that withdrawal cannot take effect for at least 12 months. While the Philippines no longer recognize the Rome Statute, the withdrawal has no impact on on-going proceedings or any matter already under consideration by the court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.
The court has been conducting a preliminary examination into accusations that Duterte and other Philippine officials committed mass murder and crimes against humanity in a war on drugs.
Specifically, it has been alleged that since 1 July 2016, thousands of persons have been killed for reasons related to their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing. While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations.
The court noted that the participation of states in the Rome Statute and their continued support for the ICC is essential to global efforts to ensure accountability and strengthen the international rule of law.
The Republic of the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute on August 30, 2011, and the statute entered into force from November 1, 2011.