ICC vows to continue probe of Duterte despite Philippines pullout
MANILA, Philippines—The International Criminal Court (ICC) has vowed to continue its preliminary examination into President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity in connection with his bloody war on drugs despite the country’s pullout from the ICC.
“My office’s independent and impartial preliminary examination into the situation in the Philippines continues,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said early Tuesday in a post on the International Criminal Court Twitter account.
— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) March 18, 2019
The Hague-based tribunal has launched a “preliminary examination” of the accusations against Duterte on crimes against humanity in February last year following a review of a number of communications documenting the alleged crimes.
After a month, Duterte announced the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute—the treaty that established the ICC—which took effect on Sunday.
Bensouda stressed the ICC continues to exercise jurisdiction over the supposed crime against humanity committed during the period the country was a state party to the Rome Statute.
“Pursuant to Article 127.2 of the Statute and based on prior ICC judicial ruling in the situation in Burundi, the Court retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time in which the State was party to the Statute and may exercise this jurisdiction even after the withdrawal becomes effective,” she said.
The Philippines officially became part of the ICC on November 1, 2011.
Aside from the Philippines, four other countries have so far pulled out of the ICC, namely, Russia, Gambia, South Africa and Burundi.
Malacañang has earlier said that it will not cooperate with the ICC should it decide to pursue a preliminary investigation against Duterte.
More recently, the Palace vowed to deny the entry of ICC officials in the country as investigators. /jpv
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