President Rodrigo Duterte says he will be withdrawing the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) “effective immediately,” an official statement said Wednesday.
"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines," Duterte said, referring to the United Nations involvement in the organization's investigation.
The president stated that the ICC had demonstrated “brazen ignorance of the law” and due to its alleged fraudulent implication in the Philippines, the Rome Statute was null and could not, therefore, be enforced.
According to the president, due to the fact that the Rome Statute was allegedly never published in the Official Gazette, the state’s publication, it was therefore never in effect. Consequently, the Philippines does not need to adhere to the required one-year waiting period as outlined in the Rome Statute.
However, members of congress were quick to react. Congressman Antonio Tino denounced Duterte’s actions as “utterly self-serving and driven by sheer panic at the prospect of a trial before the ICC for crimes against humanity related to his murderous war on drugs.”
The president's announcement comes just one month after the ICC launched its investigation into human rights abuses allegedly conducted by the president throughout his war on drugs which has led to the murder of an estimated 8,000 people since his election in 2016.
“Saving his own skin has taken precedence over the long-term commitment made by the Philippines state to human rights,” Tino said.
Sarah Elago, a Kabataan party representative, said, “Duterte intends to impose his fascist and tyrannical tendencies even against international critics. Only the guilty become too eager to run away from prosecution.”
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. Any deaths which occurred were “in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill."
However, on other occasions, the president has readily admitted his willingness to “slaughter” drug addicts and dealers, said female communist rebel fighters should be “shot in the vagina,” and included the name of a U.N. investigator on a list of 600 communist terrorists.
In response, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said Duterte needed to be submitted to a psychiatric examination.