Withdrawal from ICC won't affect preliminary Philippines probe - court

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte urged other governments on Sunday to abandon the International Criminal Court, saying the world tribunal - where he's facing a possible complaint for the thousands of killings of drug suspects under his crackdown - is "rude".

Roque said ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda should take the blame for the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

Giving a speech in front of cadets graduating from the Philippine Military Academy, the Philippine president unleashed on the International Criminal Court, now investigating the deaths of almost 4,000 Filipinos who have been killed by police during the ongoing major crackdown on drugs in the country.

In a statement on Monday, March 19, ICJ secretary general Sam Zarifi said that President Rodrigo Duterte's grounds for the Philippines to cease as party to the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding document, are "poorly thought out".

"I said withdraw simply because to announce to the world, and I will convince everybody now who [is] under the treaty: get out, get out". He made the call while giving a speech at the Philippine Military Academy on March 18. Critics say Duterte can't withdraw from the court by himself and may need the approval of the Senate, which ratified the Rome Statute in 2011.

The controversial leader said that the ICC "is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines" and that he intends to withdraw "given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration" by the court and by United Nations officials, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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"It's very clear there that the withdrawal does not take effect immediately".

However, Duterte also cited this article and contested that it is not applicable since "there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement".

"There is no indication so far of a genuine, thorough, prompt, impartial, and independent investigations of these crimes in the Philippines, and the apparent unwillingness of the authorities to do so is one of the grounds on which the ICC can and should assert jurisdiction to undertake its own investigation", Zarifi said.

"Our rule in this jurisdiction is i-publish mo talaga para hindi maignorante 'yung tao (you have to publish so people are not ignorant)".

"One of the basic principles in global law is that you can not invoke a local law to stop your commitment to the worldwide community because of the multilateral treaty", said Fajardo.

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