President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, accusing the body that launched a preliminary investigation last month into his administration’s deadly war on illegal drugs of outrageously attacking him.
Duterte, 72, said The Hague-based court wanted to paint him as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights for the thousands of suspected drug addicts and pushers killed by the police since he assumed the presidency in 2016.
“It is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines,” Duterte said in a lengthy statement, arguing that the acts that his administration was accused of doing were not “genocide nor war crimes.”
“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 [the treaty that established the ICC] effective immediately,” Duterte said.
Withdrawal from the ICC would take effect a year after notification, according to legal experts.
Duterte’s government has been antagonistic with the international community in recent weeks.
The Department of Justice last week confirmed that it had included U.N. special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on a list of 600 people whom it wanted to categorize as terrorists. In response, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Duterte needed “to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation.”
Duterte said the ICC had violated due process and did not afford him the right to be presumed innocent by publicly announcing on Feb. 9 that it was investigating allegations that the Philippine police under his leadership had committed mass murder as part of his anti-drug campaign.
Full story: BenarNews
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