Duterte: Philippines withdrawing from International Criminal Court treaty

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"The Court encourages the Philippines to not follow through with the reported intention to withdraw, as it is an important State Party to the Rome Statute, and as such an integral part of the global criminal justice system aimed at ending impunity for and helping prevent the gravest crimes under worldwide law", the ICC said in an e-mail.

In Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated that the President will not change his decision to withdraw from the ICC.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Param-Preet Singh, associate director at the Human Rights Watch's International Justice programme, said Duterte's decision was not surprising as he "has long showed disdain for the rule of law".

It will determine if there is a "reasonable basis" to proceed with an investigation in accordance to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.

The president's declaration to withdraw from the ICC was met with a barrage of both praises and criticisms.

Cayetano pointed to the well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the global community and "crucify" Duterte and the Philippines by distorting the human-rights situation in the country.

Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio lodged a complaint with the ICC last April claiming that Duterte had "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committed crimes against humanity.

In response, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said Duterte needed to be submitted to a psychiatric examination.

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Worldwide organizations and actors have become increasingly concerned over alleged human rights abuses under Duterte, as security forces continue to wage war on other destabilizing groups such as communists insurgents and the Islamic State.

Philippine police say they have killed roughly 4,000 suspects who fought back during arrest, but rights groups allege the actual number is three times higher and accuse the authorities of murder.

"The rules of the ICC are clear that it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in a state's territory while the latter was a party to the Rome Statute".

They allege that Duterte's drug war represented a systematic, state-sanctioned act of violence against a specific group, namely suspected drug dealers and users, in violation of due process, basic principles of human rights and global humanitarian law.

According to global law, Duterte and the Philippines are under the jurisdiction of the ICC as a result of being a member of the court, and withdrawing would not change that jurisdiction retroactively.

The decision was reached, as the firebrand President took a swipe at the UN's alleged attempt to depict him as "ruthless and heartless violator of human rights", and the ICC's plan to have jurisdiction over him. He said the withdrawal was not a way to evade an ICC investigation.

"Violation of human rights will aggravate". He argued Wednesday that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or similar atrocities. "If I go to prison, I go to prison", Duterte said during the launching of the Malasakit programs for the Visayas in Cebu City on February 12.

Citing Article 127 of the Rome Statute, Tinio said the withdrawal "shall come into effect one year after receipt of notice". China has called on the worldwide community to respect the Philippines' sovereignty on the issue.

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