MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday welcomed White House National Security Advisor John Bolton’s attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The United States earlier threatened to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the ICC if it prosecutes any American who served in Afghanistan on the basis of war crimes.
The US has not ratified the Rome Statute which created the ICC.
Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright dangerous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.”
“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.
In a speech before soldiers in Camp O’Donnel in Capas, Tarlac, Duterte welcomed Bolton’s comments on the ICC, saying it was something “refreshing to us."
“It’s good that there is an international pressure sa ICC kasi binul-shit sila ni Bolton. He’s really a very far-right dyan sa America. Baya ni [US President Donald] Trump,” he said.
Bolton said the US was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.
“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” Bolton said.
“We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.”
Duterte himself is facing complaints before the ICC over his war on drugs and his supposed role in the alleged death squad killings in Davao City, where he ruled as mayor for over two decades.
Duterte has withdrawn the Philippines’ ratification of the United Nations treaty that created the ICC.
Opposition senators and other petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to declare the withdrawal invalid since the Senate, which ratified the Rome Statute, has not concurred with Duterte's decision.
Critics and legal experts, however, said the government's withdrawal from the international court does not terminate the ICC's ongoing preliminary examination into the complaint against the chief executive.