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Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC

14 March 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte of Philiphines has announced the withdrawal of the country's ratification of the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) today.

In his statement, Duterte cited "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Friday that Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist over his crude comments, including a threat to slap U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, and the inclusion of U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on a list of alleged communist terrorists operating in the country.

Duterte insists the deaths have occurred as police acted in self-defense against suspected drug offenders.

Police say they have killed almost 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times that number.

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In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a "court of last resort" and the Philippine courts were fully functioning. It relies on on local powers to arrest and bring suspects to the as it has no police force of its own.

Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, said the ICC was "siding with the enemies of the president", while Duterte's legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the accession to the Rome Statute in 2011 was never announced in the Philippines official gazette, thus did not apply.

The lawmaker pointed to Article 127 of the statute which states that any withdrawal "shall come into effect one year after receipt of notice".

"I'll be there", he apparently said to the ICC.

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"I imagine this will be an worldwide embarrassment for the Philippines", said Hilbay, remarking that the country had once been seen as a regional leader in human rights.

Duterte, however, argued that there was "fraud" committed in the process of making the Philippines sign the agreement, thus Manila has the right to withdraw "effective immediately".

Duterte "welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and exhausted of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity", Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced. Sabio is the lawyer of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, who said he killed people in Davao City upon the orders of then then-Mayor Duterte.

"The withdrawal from the ICC only takes effect after a year from notification", said Celeste Mallari, a professor at the University of the Philippines Law College's Institute of International Legal Studies.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents and police secure a part of a street as they search a house during a drug raid in Maharlika Village, Taguig, south of Manila on February 28.

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Philippines Duterte to issue notice of withdrawal from ICC