Global Court Regrets Philippine Decision to Leave

18 March, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Centerlaw former human rights NGO of now Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque

The country's chief diplomat on Thursday justified as "principled stand" the government decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), pointing out that non-government organisations (NGOs) and politicians were using human rights for political ends with President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte as their main target.

In Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated that the President will not change his decision to withdraw from the ICC.

Mr Duterte said he would leave the ICC "immediately", but the court says the process takes a year after an official notice of withdrawal.

Back in 2011, then under the Benigno Aquino III administration, a reformist and staunch supporter of the United States, the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute, placing itself under the jurisdiction of the Hague-based ICC.

The statute says withdrawal from the agreement takes effect a year after the United Nations secretary general receives a written request to leave.

We recall during the time of the late President Cory Aquino, values formation seminars used to be conducted by Couples for Christ in Malacañang among its employees, including the presidential spokesman.

Amnesty International called Duterte's decision "misguided" and "cowardly".

Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio lodged a complaint with the ICC last April claiming that Duterte had "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committed crimes against humanity.

Duterte, known for his tough language, previously said he was ready to face the ICC and answer all the allegations against him.

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The principle of complementarity implies that ICC acquires jurisdiction over a situation if the state party is unable or unwilling to prosecute global crimes happening within its territory that are cognizable by the ICC.

"Withdrawal does not take you out of the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute", he said.

Zeid demanded that the Human Rights Council, which counts the Philippines among its 47 member countries, "must take a strong position" on the issue, and insisted "these attacks can not go unanswered".

While in theory withdrawal would not stop the court's inquiry into alleged crimes committed while the Philippines was a member, it could prove hard to make local authorities co-operate.

"He wants to be immune and act with impunity both under domestic law and under global law", he said in a statement.

The ICC can only intervene when a member state is unable or unwilling to carry out investigations and prosecute suspected perpetrators. "We resisted USA pressure not to join until we finally signed on only to have it weaponized against our democracy fighting an existential threat from the drug trade", Locsin said in the tweet. He argued Wednesday that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or similar atrocities.

People have been saying this all along; the Duterte administration could not solve the illegal drug problem with the use of uncontrolled violence and shortcuts that disregard human rights. "Shit. Maniwala ka diyan", Duterte said.

Rep. Gary Alejano (PL, Magdalo), also a member of the opposition bloc, said Duterte's pronouncement "has no binding effect on the membership of the country (in the ICC)". The Philippines filed and largely won the arbitration case.

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