PH pullout from ICC effective in a year
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations on Monday said it had received official notification of the Philippines’ decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that followed the tribunal’s announcement of a preliminary probe of killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said the Office of Legal Affairs’ treaty section received a document on Saturday signed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano informing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the Philippines’ decision to pull out of the ICC.
Haq said the document “constitutes a notification” under the Rome Statute that established the court, and “the withdrawal shall therefore take effect for the Philippines one year after the date of receipt, i.e., on March 17, 2019.”
Last month, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she was opening a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Filipino lawyer of suspected extrajudicial killings under President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs, which could amount to crimes against humanity.
The move angered Mr. Duterte, who announced last Wednesday that he was withdrawing the Philippine ratification of the Rome Statute “effective immediately.”
Mr. Duterte’s action came under fire from human rights groups, who said the President was trying to evade accountability by backing out of the ICC.
South Korean Judge O-Gon Kwon, president of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, expressed regret at Mr. Duterte’s decision to withdraw and encouraged the Philippines to remain a party to the court.
“A state party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts toward fighting impunity,” he said. —AP
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