PH exit from ICC an 'egoistic' move by Duterte: human rights lawyer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2018 10:42 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. File/ Ace Morandante, Malacañang Photo

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC) was an "egoistic" move, a human rights lawyer said Tuesday.

Gilbert Andres of the Center for International Law (CenterLaw), said Duterte did not consider the country's interest and was "overreacting" when he decided to withdraw Manila's membership from the ICC.

"It was all personalistic, in fact, I'd call it egoistic on the part of the President if I may say so...because there are actually Philippine interests at stake, not just the interest of the President," Andres told ANC's "Beyond Politics."

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The ICC investigates and tries individuals charged with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

"The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again," the ICC said on its website.

Last week, the President said he was withdrawing the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute.

In April last year, lawyer Jude Sabio filed a petition with the Hague-based ICC to investigate Duterte over alleged summary executions carried out in the government's campaign against illegal drugs. 

Last month the ICC sent notice to Malacañang that it would start a "preliminary examination" into crimes against humanity charges against Duterte.

Andres criticized Duterte's response to the ICC's notice.

"It's not even an investigation that the ICC prosecutor is starting. It's merely a preliminary examination, meaning to say the prosecutor is just going to verify reports," he said.

"It's overreacting. In fact, I call it a mere personal statement by the President where there was no policy consideration at all," he added.

Duterte had previously said that the ICC cannot have jurisdiction over him.

The ICC has urged Manila not to push through with its plan to withdraw its ratification of the treaty.

Another human rights lawyer said the Philippines' credibility among its international peers will take a hit if it pushes through with its planned withdrawal from the Rome Statute.