12:21Philippine President Duterte Declares Withdrawal From Int'l Criminal Court

12:21Philippine President Duterte Declares Withdrawal From Int'l Criminal Court

The Palace on Wednesday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to issue the International Criminal Court (ICC) a notice of withdrawal.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has made a decision to look into the Philippines' drug-war, on the ground of legal counsel Jude Sabio's 77-page communication, accusing Duterte of committing crimes against humanity for purportedly inciting the killings of alleged drug offenders in the country.

The Philippine president's decision comes amid a bitter conflict between him and the United Nations as Duterte has been waging war of words with the global body for a long time already.

But Duterte pointed out that the actions of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein showed "international bias and refusal" to support the country's efforts at self-determination, national building and independence from foreign influence and control. "The Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory and the law I am supposed to be charged under is not effective not enforceable in the Philippines", he added.

Two Filipino United Nations rapporteurs Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary have also accused the government of human rights abuses and killings, Duterte said.

Mr. Duterte is waging a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of mostly poor people in the Philippines, many of whom rights groups say were executed by police officers.

Trillanes said the examination "should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law".

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.

The President also argued that the ICC neither has jurisdiction to try him nor has a war crime to investigate.

"I confirm that [President Duterte] has directed the [Executive Secretary] to give notice that we are withdrawing as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court", Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines.

Police say those thousands of killings were during legitimate anti-drugs operations in which the suspects had violently resisted arrest.

But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers. In the country, a law must be published in the Official Gazette or newspapers before it takes effect, he said.

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.

"An global law can not supplant, prevail or diminish domestic law".

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