Groups: Duterte can't evade accountability by quitting court


"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.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, speaking from Manila, said the Philippines was quitting due to "the well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the global community, to crucify President distorting the human rights situation in the country".

If anything, it may embolden the ICC to take a tougher stance and move ahead with prosecution of specific officials.

"There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the United Nations special rapporteurs to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings", Mr Duterte said. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that a case is poltiicized when a politician has filed it.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, Duterte announced the country's withdrawal from the ICC as he stressed the court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines" following the "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" against him. The Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs has not made a dent on the illegal drug trade despite more than 12,000 extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings (as per Human Rights Watch), which were widely believed to be committed, sanctioned or ordered by police officers. According to a report by The Guardian, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office would "analyse crimes allegedly committed ... since at least 1 July 2016 in the context of the "war on drugs" campaign".

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 United Nations investigator on a list of 600 communist terrorists. Official statistics put the number of dead at around 4000.

The Queen shares 'intimate' lunch with Meghan Markle
Although the monarch is unlikely to have withheld her blessing, she would only have said "no" on the advice of the prime minister. Royal rules dictated that Meghan, who was raised Protestant, had to be baptised in the Anglican Church before her wedding.

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 Mr Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity.

Participants display placards as they participate in a procession against plans to reimpose death penalty and intensify drug war during "Walk for Life" in Luneta park, Metro Manila, Philippines February 24, 2018.

"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.

Mr Roque yesterday warned of an "avalanche of other states leaving".

A month ago, Duterte declared: "do not worry about me". For me, the ICC and the quest for justice in the world loses more. "I will gladly do it for my country".

He said the treaty, also known as the Rome Statute, which the Philippines signed on August 23, 2011, is not "effective nor enforceable" because it was not published in the Official Gazette. Now, however, the president has changed his tune.

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