ICC urges PH not to continue with 'regrettable' withdrawal

ICC urges PH not to continue with 'regrettable' withdrawal

ICC urges PH not to continue with 'regrettable' withdrawal

"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.

"The Court encourages the Philippines to not follow through with the reported intention to withdraw, as it is an important State Party to the Rome Statute, and as such an integral part of the global criminal justice system aimed at ending impunity for and helping prevent the gravest crimes under worldwide law", the ICC said in an e-mail.

"Instead of trying to desperately evade his global obligations and escape accountability for his actions, President Duterte should just recognize the ICC processes and accord it due respect, " she said.

"The decision to withdraw is the Philippines' principled stand against those who would politicise and weaponise human rights", the letter said.

The Palace official noted that the ICC did not observe its "complementarity principle" when it began its preliminary examination into the complaint filed against Duterte in connection with the high number of killings under his controversial war on drugs.

The progressive lawmaker said the Statute also states that the withdrawal would not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings, and the withdrawing State's duty to cooperate in the said investigations which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty that created the worldwide court.

Mr Duterte's chief legal counsel, Mr Salvador Panelo, said the president was "definitely not afraid" of an investigation from The Hague court.

"No, because if it pushes through, the President has not said that he will not cooperate", Roque said, when asked if the President is trying to avoid accountability, once the ICC finds probable cause to investigate his drug war.

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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".

Duterte had initially dared the ICC to indict him, saying he was willing to rot in jail to save Filipinos from drugs, which he says are destroying his country.

He also said he would "love" to be executed by firing squad if found guilty by the ICC.

The administration has many times denied hand in supposed summary killings.

But he soon changed his tune, telling security forces not to cooperate in any worldwide investigation, and that "not in a million years" would the ICC have jurisdiction.

"Violation of human rights will aggravate".

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".

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

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