Duterte moves to withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court

By Sara Shayanian  |  March 14, 2018 at 7:43 AM
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March 14 (UPI) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is moving to withdraw his country from the International Criminal Court, his office announced Wednesday.

The leader cited in a statement "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" against him and his administration as the reason for withdrawing from the court, which hears cases of genocide and war crimes.

"Duterte has directed the Executive Secretary to give notice that we are withdrawing as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," the Philippine presidential communications office said in a statement.

The country still must a formal notice to withdraw from the tribunal.

Duterte said the international court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines" over its attempts to put him under its jurisdiction amid an inquiry into his war on illegal drugs.

"The accusations of these United Nation officials have the effect of painting me guilty before the eyes of the world," Duterte said. "There appears to be a concerted effort on those aforesaid United Nation officials to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights."

Duterte said last month he wasn't threatened by ICC complaints against him.

"If they want to indict me and convict me, fine. I will gladly do it for my country," Duterte said.

It would take a year from Duterte's declaration for the Philippines -- which signed on to the court in 2000 but wasn't ratified until 2011 -- one year from the day to be considered withdrawn from the ICC.

The court said last month it would review alleged human rights violations in the Philippines stemming from Duterte's war on drugs -- with Human Rights Watch estimating some 14,000 deaths.

Last April, a Philippine lawyer filed a complaint against Duterte before the ICC, accusing the president and his allies of crimes against humanity.

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