PH withdrawal 'the beginning of the end' for ICC: Duterte spokesman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2018 09:47 AM | Updated as of Mar 15 2018 10:00 AM

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MANILA - The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte believes the Philippines' withdrawal from the International Criminal Court is "the beginning of the end" for the court, as it will start an avalanche of withdrawal of other countries.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday the ICC violated its "complementarity" rule when it began its initial examination into the complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte in relation to the administration's war on drugs.

"This is not even part of the formal procedure of the court yet. But as a matter of principle, the fact that it started preliminary examination already violates the very fundamental basis by which we gave our consent to be part of the ICC," he told ANC.

Roque, who specializes in international law, stressed that the ICC, under its complementarity principle, can only exercise jurisdiction when domestic courts are unwilling or unable to do their work, which he said is not the case in the Philippines.

The spokesman said he already brought the issue up before the ICC several times but he was ignored.

"The Philippine withdrawal, I am sure, will start an avalanche of other states leaving the court... Secondly, no other Asians would join the ICC now. Only the Philippines has taken the role of advocating that other countries in the region should become a member. This the beginning of the end of the court," he said.

He pointed out that major powers such as the United States, Russia and China are not even members of the ICC.

Roque,a former co-chairperson of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, earlier thanked then President Benigno Aquino III for the Philippines' membership in the ICC in 2011.

President Duterte on Wednesday has decided to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of a United Nations treaty that created the ICC. By withdrawing, the Philippines expects that the ICC will no longer have jurisdiction over it.

The ICC, which has jurisdiction over 124 of its members, including the Philippines, was created through the 1988 UN statute. The Philippines signed the Rome Statute on December 28, 2000 and ratified and endorsed it in August 2011.