Duterte withdraws from worldwide rights treaty following criticism of war on drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

"I therefore declare and forthwith give notice... that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute, effective immediately", he said in a statement released to media on Wednesday.

Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, said the ICC was "siding with the enemies of the president", while Duterte's legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the accession to the Rome Statute in 2011 was never announced in the Philippines official gazette, thus did not apply.

The Philippines is pulling out its support from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in protest against the "baseless" and "outrageous" attacks against the administration as well as violations of due process, President Duterte announced Wednesday.

Duterte also invoked presidential immunity from lawsuits, which he said prevents the ICC from investigating him while he is in office.

Russian Federation in 2016 dealt the ICC another blow by withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute.

"The ICC was ratified by the Senate".

The ICC, established in 1998, is the first permanent global court created to prosecute persons for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

Mr. Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the worldwide community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

The administration has many times denied involvement in summary killings, saying the almost 4,000 drug suspects killed in police operations had put up violent resistance.

In a statement, Duterte accused the ICC of violating his right to due process and presumption of innocence when a prosecutor with the tribunal announced the court was opening an investigation into Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson also called on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

Police said almost 5,000 suspects have been killed in shootouts during drug raids since Mr Duterte took office in mid-June.

He said Callamard has depicted him as a "ruthless violator of human rights and directly responsible" for alleged extrajudicial killings without showing any proof and merely relying on news reports and accusations of his critics.

Duterte "welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and exhausted of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity", Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced.

Senator Antonio Trillanes said Duterte was withdrawing "because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC".

"I'll be there", he apparently said to the ICC.

Created in 1998 through the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over 124 of its members, including the Philippines.

But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a "court of last resort" and the Philippine courts were fully functioning.

"Also, we can not get out of ICC jurisdiction just like that".

The one-year period is "not applicable in so far as the effect of the withdrawal of the Philippines as a signatory to the Rome Statute is concerned, for the reason that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement", according to the Philippines president.

Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.

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