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International Criminal Court urges Philippines not to quit, following President Duterte's announcement

17 March 2018

"The government affirms its commitment to fight against impunity for atrocity crimes, notwithstanding its withdrawal from the Rome Statute, especially since the Philippines has a national legislation punishing atrocity crimes", the government said in a letter dated Thursday and addressed to the United Nations secretary-general.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque cautioned that there might be an "avalanche" of countries leaving the ICC while other nations are likely to refuse to join the worldwide court now. He slammed the preliminary examination of ICC prosecutor Fatou Besouda against the country's war on drugs, and the "international bias" of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zed Ra'ad al-Hussein against the human rights situation in the country.

THE Philippines has formally transmitted its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the United Nations (UN) on Friday (Manila time).

Through the note, the Philippines gave its assurance to the global community that it continues to be guided by the rule of law embodied in the country's Constitution and its long-standing tradition of upholding human rights.

The mercurial former mayor had initially welcomed last month's announcement by the ICC of its preliminary examination into a complaint filed by a Philippine lawyer accusing Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity. Because you have shown that you can exercise your power without accountability.

They said Mr Duterte's decision was an admission of guilt and a sign that he was panicking.

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.

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

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Activist priest Robert Reyes said the president's decision is "clearly an act of open defiance not only against the ICC but what it represents".

Last month, Duterte said that he was willing to be put behind bars by the ICC if it meant that the war on drugs would continue until the end of his term.

"Even if the process progresses to the investigation proper, he will be accorded his right to contest the charges, or even disclaim the Court's jurisdiction to try him".

In a statement, the worldwide court noted Manila's intention to withdraw based on news reports but emphasized that it has yet to be notified by the United Nations Secretary-General, the depositary of the Rome Statute.

Lagman said Duterte "cannot overcome overwhelming evidence against him consisting of his own incriminating utterances of instigation and condonation, and unassailable records of extrajudicial killings consequent to his deadly war on drugs".

"Violation of human rights will aggravate".

Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, a state party's withdrawal from the treaty can only take effect a year after the written notification is received by the UN Secretary-General.

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". China has called on the worldwide community to respect the Philippines' sovereignty on the issue.

International Criminal Court urges Philippines not to quit, following President Duterte's announcement