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Philippines' Duterte moves to quit International Criminal Court

AFP  |  Manila 

said today he was pulling the out of the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly drug war.

"I therefore declare and forthwith give notice... that the is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately," said in a statement.

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

Police say they have killed nearly 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.

The outspoken Philippine leader, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, has taken issue over the becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC

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.

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

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

"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a against the Philippines," he said.

In his statement, cited "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person as well my administration".

"The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill," he added.

But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers.

Adding pressure on Manila, in February, the raised the country's human rights record with 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's also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.

But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a "court of last resort" and the Philippine courts were fully functioning.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 13:30 IST
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