By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte called the Rome statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) “bullshit” as he called on other countries to withdraw from the ICC during the graduation rights of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), March 18.
“I will convince everybody now who are under the treaty (to) “get out, get out. It is rude,” Duterte said.
It can be recalled that Duterte announce last week that he is withdrawing the Philippine’s ratification of the Rome Statute. The ICC tribunal is examining charges of crimes against humanity filed against Duterte over the thousands of killings in his war on drugs.
Duterte maintained that the treaty should be published in the government’s Official Gazette because it is a criminal law. “You know, if it’s not published, there is no law,” he said.
He said the ICC could never have jurisdiction over him, “not in a million years.”
“The treaty, if you read it, it’s all bullshit,” he said.
The ICC announced last month that a preliminary examination of a complaint for crimes against humanity filed against Duterte over his war on drugs.
Duterte said he announced the withdrawal from the Rome Statute to draw the world’s attention to the issue he had with the ICC.
Duterte said that the Rome Statute was formulated by the European Union as “atonement for its past sins”. He criticized EU for its involvement in the Middle and East Africa
The EU was leading international calls for an independent investigation into the drug killings in the Philippines.
“In the Middle East, they took so much of the oil, leaving the poor Arabs to fight each other. You go to Iraq on the pretext of [looking for] weapons of mass destruction, so they destroyed the country,” he said.
“And then the ICC prosecutes either black leaders or … they have so many problems but they find time to meddle with other countries,” he added.
Human rights groups have criticized Duterte for his decision to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC treaty, saying the President is trying to evade accountability for his brutal war on drugs.
Critics say Duterte can not withdraw the Philippines from the ICC by himself and may need the approval of the Senate, which ratified the Rome Statute in 2011.
More than 120 countries have ratified the Rome Statute, which established the ICC in 2002 in The Hague.
The ICC can intervene only when a state is unable or unwilling to carry out an investigation and prosecute perpetrators of heinous crimes like crimes against humanity, genocide, aggression and war atrocities.
Raul Pangalangan, a former dean of the college of law at the University of the Philippines sits as a judge on the ICC. # nordis.net