Global court regrets Philippine decision to leave

Global court regrets Philippine decision to leave

How could the Duterte administration now explain why and how a self-confessed drug distributor, who even testified before the Senate about his involvement in the drug trade, and an alleged drug supplier, who the President himself accused publicly of being a drug lord and even threatened to kill him, elude justice while thousands of drug users and low-ranking drug pushers are killed without due process?

"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.

"The Philippine withdrawal, I am sure, will start an avalanche of other states leaving the court".

Last week, he said the ICC would "not in a million years" have jurisdiction to indict him.

Duterte also rejected the ICC rule that says a withdrawal from the body requires a one-year waiting period, concluding that the Philippines is out "effective immediately".

The ICC's initial review of the alleged human rights violations linked to the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs was based on the communications lodged by lawyer Jude Sabio, and opposition lawmakers Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Gary Alejano.

Human Rights Watch said the ICC can still prosecute heinous crimes in the Philippines until its withdrawal takes effect a year after Duterte notifies the United Nations secretary-general.

He said Burundi had also withdrawn from the ICC, while first world nations like the United States, Russia and China are non-members.

In February the International Criminal Court (ICC) officially announced it was launching a preliminary investigation into the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

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Panelo insisted Duterte was not afraid, but objected to the ICC becoming "a political tool to harass a particular country, like ours".

The Philippines became signatory to the treaty on August 23, 2011.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, in a television interview on Wednesday night, said the anti-drug war can still be probed by the ICC.

He said the treaty, also known as the Rome Statute, which the Philippines signed on August 23, 2011, is not "effective nor enforceable" because it was not published in the Official Gazette.

Mr Duterte's chief critics said the move was a U-turn that showed the tough-talking leader was now in panic mode.

"In fact, it will not affect our country's cooperation with the ICC conducting criminal investigations which were initiated before the said withdrawal, " she pointed out. How could it counter the criticisms that the war on drugs is mainly targeting the poor?

Article 127 of the Rome Statute states that even if a party withdraws from the treaty, it "shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute, including any financial obligations which may have accrued".

As tension grows, over criminal allegations concerning human rights abuses during the war drugs, the president maintains that he has neither committed genocide or any war crimes.

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

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