PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced that he would pull out the Philippines from the Rome Statute which it signed, along with 122 other countries, creating the International Court (ICC) to try individuals accused of international crimes.
Duterte’s decision to remove the Philippines as one of the signatories of the Statues comes after the ICC said it could investigate Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity involving extrajudicial killings resulting from his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
In a statement distributed to members of media, Duterte cited the “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and the alleged attempt by the ICC special prosecutor to place him under ICC jurisdiction.
Duterte said it was this “violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Statute” that led to the decision.
“An international law cannot supplant, prevail or diminish domestic law. Even assuming that ICC can have jurisdiction over my person still the acts complained of purportedly committed by me do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the crimes attributed to him were neither war crimes nor genocide.
He reiterated that the drug-related killings “lacked the intent to kill” and were merely the result of legitimate police operations.
“The self-defense employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law hence they do not incur criminal liability,” Duterte said.
The Philippines became the 117th state to join the ICC on August 23, 2011. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA