Duterte to ICC probers: I will arrest you


Posted at Apr 13 2018 08:15 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2018 11:33 AM

Fatou Bensouda waits for alleged jihadist leader Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud to enter the court room for his initial appearance on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands April 4, 2018. Reuters

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday warned he will have members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrested here if they will continue to investigate the government's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

"You can't exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you," he said.

Duterte said the war crimes tribunal has no authority because "the Philippines was never a member of that ICC."

Its membership in the Rome Statute, he said, did not take effect because there was no publication in the Official Gazette or any newspaper of general circulation.

"If there's no publication, it's as if there's no law at all," he said.

"Ikaw Ms. Fatou (Bensouda), 'wag kang pumunta dito because I will bar you, not because I am afraid of you, I said because you will never have jurisdiction over my person. Not in a million years."

Bensouda is the ICC's chief prosecutor. She was sworn into the position on June 15, 2012.

"At hindi ako matatakot. I said you can never hold me into the international criminal court simply because your position is flawed and can't be corrected anymore. So stop your nonsense," he said.

Duterte earlier announced the Philippines is withdrawing from the Rome Statute that created the international body because of "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" by U.N. officials.

In a 15-page statement, Duterte said the ICC's preliminary examination was premature and "effectively created the impression that I am to be charged ... for serious crimes falling under its jurisdiction."

The ICC has started a preliminary examination on the charges filed by lawyer Jude Sabio over alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that as of March 20, 2018, 4,075 drug-linked individuals have been killed while 91,704 anti-illegal drug operations have been carried out since the president assumed office in July 2016.