Philippines to quit International Criminal Court: Duterte

The ICC announced in February that it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Mr Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs

Police claim they have killed around 4,000 drugs suspects but rights groups suggest the figure could be far higher, up to around three times the number.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines because the country's ratification to the Rome Statute was not published on the Official Gazette.

An ICC prosecutor announced last month that she was opening a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings stemming from Duterte's anti-drug crackdown.

Under previous President Benigno Aquino, the Philippines ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.

The ICC's founding document, the Rome Statute, defines its jurisdiction and identifies other rules on how to prosecute those responsible for crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

On Wednesday Duterte, a former lawyer, attacked the ICC's preliminary examination into his anti-narcotics campaign saying it was "unduly and maliciously created".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. However, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) estimate that up to 12,000 people could have fallen victim to the notorious campaign.

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.


"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.

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

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

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.

Talk of a possible ICC investigation into Duterte's bloody crackdown on drug use has been ongoing since the start of his presidency, but the Philippine president has dismissed such rhetoric and criticism as "bullshit". A self-confessed drug dealer was among those cleared.

Duterte, however, argues that the Philippines can do as it pleases because he rejects the agreement as a whole. Sabio is the lawyer of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, who said he killed people in Davao City upon the orders of then then-Mayor Duterte.

Police insisted on Wednesday they had strong cases against the suspects.

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