Duterte demands review of dropped cases against drug kingpins

Duterte demands review of dropped cases against drug kingpins

Roque was a former co-chairperson of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, which lobbied for the Philippines to ratify the Rome Statute and become an ICC member.

He said the ICC probe amounted to "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

Mr Zeid has also taken aim at Mr Duterte, saying that he "needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation" for describing Ms Callamard as "malnourished" and referring to ICC prosecutor Fatou Besouda as "that black woman".

When asked if the President will inform the ICC about his decision, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President has directed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to "give notice that we are withdrawing as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court".

Established in 1998, the ICC is tasked with prosecuting people accused of war crimes, genocide and other high crimes when domestic courts are unwilling or unable to investigate allegations or prosecute suspects.

Critics expressed shock at Duterte's decision, saying he was trying to escape accountability and fearing it could foster an even worse human rights situation in the country.

He noted that the deaths related to the drug war could not be considered crimes against humanity because these were a "direct result of a lawful exercise of a police duty".

The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a "preliminary examination" of Duterte's bloody anti-drug crackdown that has drawn worldwide concern.

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Adding pressure on Manila, in February, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva raised the country's human rights record with Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson calling on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

This amid the court's preliminary examination of charges against the President, among them crimes against humanity for alleged abuses under his fierce anti-narcotics campaign. On several occasions, he called the global body "useless" following ICC calls for probes into Duterte's notorious 'war on drugs.' . "Neither it is a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity", the president said in his statement.

However, the 72-year-old said that he is not planning to wait, and that the withdrawal would take place immediately.

"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", Duterte said.

The Hague-based tribunal announced last month that it had opened a preliminary examination of a complaint filed previous year by a Philippine lawyer over the president's anti-drug campaign, which has left 4,000 dead since Duterte took office in 2016.

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.

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

Also, Duterte said the ICC could not subject the Philippine President to any investigation during his tenure due to the doctrine of immunity from lawsuit while in office.

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