See More on Facebook

Analysis, Politics

Duterte pulls Philippines out of ICC; accuses body of politicizing drug war

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has pulled his country out of the International Criminal Court with his government accusing the ICC of politicizing local affairs.


Written by

Updated: March 16, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), due to “baseless” accusations against him by UN officials and violations of due process by the ICC.

Duterte’s announcement comes after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would look into complaints that Duterte’s government is guilty of crimes against humanity in connection with the continuing war on drugs.

In a statement, Mr. Duterte declared “that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.”

“The accusations of these United Nations officials have the effect of painting me guilty before the eyes of the world. There appears to be a concerted effort on those aforesaid United Nations officials to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights,” Duterte was quoted as saying by the Philippines Daily Inquirer.

Duterte called the decision by the prosecutor to consider the rights abuse ‘”baseless, unprecedented and outrageous.”

Grandstanding 

Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said that the decision by the Philippines to withdraw was a big blow to the court. According to Roque, the Philippines was an active member of the ICC and with their withdrawal, other countries might follow suit and quit the body.

“Wrong political move, madam prosecutor, and I am addressing you wherever you are. You just gave the country the confirmation on why they should not be a member of the ICC, because you have shown that you are exercising power without accountability,” Roque said in a press briefing.

“You are to blame if the ICC will become part of history, you are to blame if ICC becomes part of dust bin of history,” he added.

Roque stressed that the ICC can only exercise jurisdiction when local courts are incapable to do their jobs, a situation that did not apply in the case of the Philippines.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the case is politicized when a politician has filed it. It should have been thrown to the wastebasket,” he added.

Criticisms from home and abroad

The decision by Manila was met with derision from both the opposition party and foreign and local rights groups.

Manila-based rights group Center for International Law said that Duterte’s decision gives the impression that the police and other state agents evade accountability for serious human rights violations.

“President Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court gives the false impression that government agents, especially our police force, can continue to perpetuate a culture of impunity and that that they can evade international accountability for crimes against humanity,” CenterLaw President Joel Butuyan said in a statement.

“CenterLaw shares our people’s fear that this attempt to withdraw from the ICC will plunge the country deeper into the quagmire of impunity – one that has already claimed thousands of lives,” he added.

Vice President Leni Robredo, of the opposition Liberal Party, called the decision “dangerous.”

“Being a signatory in the ICC, that’s our safety net when our officials just neglect cases of abuse in the country, we have a venue where we can go to,” she said. “This is dangerous for the future generation because what if the current in position is abusive? We have nothing to go to.”

International rights group Human Rights Watch also condemned the decision to withdraw from the ICC but said the withdrawal was “no surprise.”

“Duterte has long shown disdain for the rule of law. Last August, Duterte vowed to pardon and promote – rather than punish – any police officer who carried out an unlawful killing. His announcement to pull out of the ICC, which is designed to prosecute those most responsible for grave crimes, is a barefaced attempt to shield him and high-ranking officials from possible ICC prosecution,” the group said in a statement.

A bloody drug war 

Since taking office in June of 2016, Duterte’s government has waged a bloody drug war which has claimed the lives of at least 12,000 people according to watchdog groups. Many of these execution-style takedowns happen without due process and no one has been held accountable for the killings.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated in her decision to open examinations into the killings that a “careful, independent and impartial review,” have been made into reports documenting potential crimes committed by the state.

“While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations,” the statement said.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Politics

Growing disaster risks exceed Asia-Pacific’‬s capacity to respond

This according to a UN Escap finding. The relentless sequence of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific in the past two years was beyond what the region had previously experienced or was able to predict, and this is a sign of things to come in a new climate reality, according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap)‭. The Disaster Riskscape across Asia-Pacific The ‭Asia-Pacific ‭ ‬Disaster ‭ ‬Report 2019‭ released in Bangkok on Thursday reveals that recent disasters, especially ‬‬those ‭‬triggered by ‭ ‬climate ‭‬change ‭‬and environmental ‭‬degradation, ‭‬have deviated from their usual tracks and are growing in intensity, frequency and complexity. It is now more difficult to determine which areas should


By The Nation (Thailand)
August 23, 2019

Analysis, Politics

West Papua and its troubled history with Indonesia

Recent riots and protests are just symptoms of long simmering ethnic tensions. Protests have broken out in the Indonesian province of West Papua with a local parliament being set alight and buildings torched in Sorong, the province’s largest city. The protests, involving hundreds of people, occurred throughout the province on Wednesday with buildings set on fire, including a prison where 250 inmates escaped, and rocks and projectiles thrown at security forces. The protests erupted, in part, because of the detention of ethnic Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya over accusations that they had desecrated the Indonesian flag on its national day. But long running ethnic tensions between the native West Papuans and the Indonesian central government have plagued the province since it was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s. A colonial legacy After the


By Cod Satrusayang
August 23, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Fresh clashes in Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protesters clash with police, angry at lack of prosecutions after July subway mob attack. Thousands of jeering Hong Kong residents held a raucous anti-government protest on Wednesday (Aug 21) at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence. Some masked protesters clashed with police in the sub-tropical heat, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil to stop the police advancing. Some demonstrators blocked station exits and sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines from overpasses. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations, which have sometimes turned violent, since June against a perceived erosion


By The Straits Times
August 22, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Japan believes N. Korea has already developed nuclear warheads

All of Japan is within range of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles. According to the original version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. This is the first time such statements have been included in the report. Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan. The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.” The 2018 version of the report said there was a “possi


By The Japan News
August 22, 2019

Analysis, Politics

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted. Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18). This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat. Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying


By The Straits Times
August 19, 2019