Philippines drugs war: Duterte to withdraw from ICC

Rodrigo Duterte reviews an honour guard at the Bureau of Customs in Manila, Philippines, 6 February 2018Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016 promising a crackdown on drug dealers

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said he plans to withdraw his country from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it began examining the country’s drugs war.

“It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines,” Mr Duterte said.

He also condemned “baseless” attacks by the UN.

The ICC in February began examining alleged crimes committed during the controversial anti-drugs crackdown.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the court would be looking at reports of extrajudicial killings.

She stressed that the examinations by the ICC – based in The Hague – were “not an investigation” but a process of examining information “in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation”.

‘Outrageous attacks’

A statement from the Philippine administration said the ICC inquiry was “in violation of due process”.

The president also condemned “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” on him and his administration by the UN.

“The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill.”

There has been growing international pressure on Mr Duterte about his country’s war on drugs, which has caused the deaths of thousands.

Police claim they have killed nearly 4,000 drugs suspects, while rights groups suggest the figure could be far higher.

Ms Bensouda first said she was “deeply concerned” about reports of extrajudicial killings in October 2016, less than four months after Mr Duterte assumed office on a pledge to crack down on drug dealers.

And last month, as the ICC announced its preliminary inquiry, the UN Human Rights Council questioned the Philippines’ human rights record and called on the country to accept a UN special rapporteur.

Harry Roque, a spokesperson for President Duterte, said in response that the ICC lacked jurisdiction over the case, calling the ICC a “court of last resort”.

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