Philippines' Duterte urges other nations to withdraw from ICC

MANILA • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday urged other nations to follow his move to withdraw from a treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court (ICC) that is examining his deadly drug war.

Mr Duterte lashed out at the war crimes tribunal two days after his government officially notified the United Nations of his decision to pull the Philippines out of the Rome Statute. "I said withdraw simply... to announce to the world, and I will convince everybody now who (is) under the treaty: get out, get out. It is rude," Mr Duterte said in a speech before Philippine Military Academy graduates.

"It is not a document that was prepared by anybody. It's an EU-sponsored (treaty)," he added, as he criticised the court for going after "blacks".

The Hague-based ICC announced last month that it was launching a "preliminary examination" of Mr Duterte's bloody anti-drug crackdown which has drawn international concern. Mr Duterte, 72, won elections in mid-2016 vowing to launch an unprecedented drug war in which tens of thousands of people would die. Police say they have killed nearly 4,100 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim that the toll is around three times the numbers given by the authorities.

CALL TO QUIT

I will convince everybody now who (is) under the treaty: get out, get out.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE

Opened in 2002, the ICC is the world's only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.

Last Friday, the Philippines formally notified the UN that it was withdrawing from the ICC, saying the stand was against "those who would politicise and weaponise human rights".

The tribunal had urged Manila to reconsider its decision.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'Philippines' Duterte urges other nations to withdraw from ICC'. Print Edition | Subscribe