Philippines to quit International Criminal Court

Over the past year, Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at the ICC and United Nations bodies, accusing them of interfering in his country's domestic affairs.

The case stems from a complaint filed before the global court in 2017 accusing the Philippine president of ordering the killings "repeatedly, unchangingly, and continuously".

Duterte has insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.

Ms Bensouda first said she was "deeply concerned" about reports of extrajudicial killings in October 2016, less than four months after Mr Duterte assumed office on a pledge to crack down on drug dealers.

"In short, since the ICC has already commenced with proceedings regarding Pres. Duterte's war on drugs, it has the authority to proceed and the Philippine government has the obligation to cooperate with an investigation, regardless of the notice of withdrawal", he added.

However, Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the Philippines is sovereign and independent, and whoever commits a crime "should be tried here with our people".

The ICC is in charge of investigating crimes like genocide and war crimes.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the move was a "principled stand".

Human Rights Watch estimated earlier in 2018 that more than 12,000 people have been killed by police and plain clothed gunmen since the anti-drug campaign began.

"A state party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts towards fighting impunity", said O-Gon Kwon, adding that the ICC needed "the strong support of the global community to ensure its effectiveness".

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Cayetano pointed to the well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the global community and "crucify" Duterte and the Philippines by distorting the human-rights situation in the country.

"Instead of trying to desperately evade his global obligations and escape accountability for his actions, President Duterte should just recognize the ICC processes and accord it due respect, " she said.

Last month, the ICC announced an initial inquiry into a complaint that accused the president and other senior officials of mass murder and crimes against humanity.

He said the Philippines' withdrawal has not been made official. "Shit. Maniwala ka diyan", Duterte said. How could it counter the criticisms that the war on drugs is mainly targeting the poor?

An ICC spokesman referred most questions to the court's prosecutors, who could not immediately be reached.

Critics expressed shock at Duterte's decision, saying he was trying to escape accountability and fearing it could foster an even worse human rights situation in the country. "Neither is it a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity", he said.

Under the Article 127 of the Rome Statue, the withdrawal of the Philippines would become effective one year after the United Nations secretary-general received a written notice the State party.

Rep. Gary Alejano (PL, Magdalo), also a member of the opposition bloc, said Duterte's pronouncement "has no binding effect on the membership of the country (in the ICC)".

Lagman expressed fear that the worldwide community will lose trust in the Philippines "because a country which does not honor its commitments does not deserve the trust of other states".


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