ICC: PH withdrawal has ‘no impact’ on proceedings vs Duterte
Days after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the Philippines would pull out from the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday said the country’s withdrawal would not affect its ongoing preliminary examination on the administration’s bloody war on drugs.
The ICC also reminded the Philippine government that its adherence to the system of the Rome Statute, the court’s founding treaty, was “essential to international rule of law.”
“A withdrawal has no impact on on-going proceedings or any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective; nor on the status of any judge already serving at the Court,” the ICC said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.
The ICC cited the recent pretrial chamber decision authorizing the opening of an investigation on the alleged crimes against humanity committed in the East African state of Burundi. The decision states that the Court retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time in which the state was party to the Rome Statute.
The ICC said that the United Nations Secretary General formally received the Philippines’ written notification of withdrawal from the Rome Statute on Saturday, March 17.
The United Nations formally notified the ICC on Monday night.
The withdrawal will take effect a year after the UN Secretary General’s receipt of the notice, as stated under Sec. 127 of the statute, contrary to the “immediate” pullout that Duterte wants.
While it regrets the recent development, the ICC said that the withdrawal remains a “sovereign decision.”
“The Court regrets this development and encourages the Philippines to remain part of the ICC family,” it added.
On Wednesday, Duterte announced the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC amid the court’s ongoing preliminary examination on his brutal campaign against illegal drugs believed to have taken thousands of lives of suspected drug criminals since July 2016.
The President tagged as “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous” the attacks against him and his administration by United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zaid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
He also claimed that his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty was violated when ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda publicly announced the court’s preliminary examination of his drug war. /atm