Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte today (14 March) said that he was pulling his country out of the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is examining his role in the ongoing war against drugs in the Asian country.
I therefore declare and forthwith give notice... that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.Rodrigo Duterte
Based out of The Hague in The Netherlands, the ICC last month announced the launch of a “preliminary examination” into the anti-drug war that has drawn international attention including concern from Human Rights Activists.
While official claims by the Police peg the number drug offenders taken down at 4,000, human rights groups say that the death toll is at least three times that number.
Duterte has been accused of encouraging the killings with inflammatory statements, and this is the first time that a southeast Asian nation is under the ICC’s radar. Set up in 2002, it is the only permanent war crimes court which would prosecute the worst cases of abuse when national courts are unable to unwilling to do so.
Duterte said that the ICC examination into his anti-narcotics campaign was “unduly and maliciously created” and that the ICC was being used a political tool against his country. The Philippines under former president Benigno Aquino had ratified the 2011 Rome Statute that gives the ICC to authority to investigate crimes on Philippine soil.
Other countries that have exited the ICC include South Africa and The Gambon while countries such as The United States and Israel have signed the Rome Statute but have never ratified it. India and China have neither signed nor ratified the statute.