MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged other nations to follow his move to quit a treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is examining his deadly drug war.
Duterte lashed out at the war crimes tribunal two days after his government officially notified the United Nations of his decision to pull the Philippines out of the Rome Statute.
“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. It is rude,” Duterte said in a speech before Philippine Military Academy graduates.
“It is not a document that was prepared by anybody. It’s an EU-sponsored (treaty),” he added, as he criticized the court for going after “blacks.”
The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s bloody anti-drug crackdown that has drawn international concern.
Duterte, 72, won elections in mid-2016 vowing to launch an unprecedented drug war in which tens of thousands of people would die.
Police say they have killed nearly 4,100 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.
Opened in 2002, the ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.
On Friday, the Philippines formally notified the U.N. that it is withdrawing from the ICC, saying the stand was against “those who would politicize and weaponize human rights.”
The tribunal had urged Manila to reconsider its decision, with the president of its governing body saying he deeply regretted the move.
“A state party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts toward fighting impunity,” said Assembly of State Parties President O-Gon Kwon.