Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Duterte withdrawing Philippines from ICC as international tribunal probes his ‘war on drugs’

International Criminal Court
The confrontation between Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has escalated after the defiant leader moved to withdraw Manila from the Rome Statute.

“I therefore declare and forthwith give notice… that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute, effective immediately,” he said in a statement released to media on Wednesday.

The country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, should take effect one year after written notification of the withdrawal is received by the UN Secretary-General. However, the 72-year-old said that he is not planning to wait, and that the withdrawal would take place immediately.

The one-year period is “not applicable in so far as the effect of the withdrawal of the Philippines as a signatory to the Rome Statute is concerned, for the reason that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement,” according to the Philippines president.

Duterte has been threatening to pull out of the Hague-based international tribunal since the start of his presidential term in mid-2016. On several occasions, he called the international body “useless” following ICC calls for probes into Duterte’s notorious ‘war on drugs.’

Despite numerous complaints and threats of an investigation, the Philippines leader continued his campaign, saying back in February that the campaign wouldn’t stop until his last day in office. “If I go to prison, I go to prison. If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows prisoners to be executed by firing squad. I’ll be there,” he apparently said to the ICC.

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