President Rodrigo Duterte has announced Wednesday that the Philippines is immediately withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, which is investigating his brutal anti-narcotics campaign.
“I therefore declare and forthwith give notice … that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately,” Duterte said in a written statement explaining his decision to pull out of the statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, revealed in February that it is launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s war on drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Filipinos. Police put the number of dead at 4,000, but the number could potentially be much higher due to corruption within the police force.
Duterte “welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and tired of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced. “If need be, he will argue his case personally and face the ICC.”
It seems that Duterte would rather withdraw from the institution.
Talk of a possible ICC investigation into Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drug use has been ongoing since the start of his presidency, but the Philippine president has dismissed such rhetoric and criticism as “bullshit.”
“You scare me that you will jail me? International Criminal Court? Bullshit,” he said during a speech in November 2016. At that time, he suggested that he might withdraw from the ICC, calling it a “useless” institution.
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Countries can only withdraw one year after announcing their withdrawal, according to the guiding principles of the ICC. Duterte, however, argues that the Philippines can do as it pleases because he rejects the agreement as a whole.
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