Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to pull his country out of the International Criminal Court, putting the court’s examination of alleged crimes against humanity in the Philippines in doubt.
Mr. Duterte is waging a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of mostly poor people in the Philippines, many of whom rights groups say were executed by police officers. The government denies that authorities systematically execute suspects.
Mr. Duterte said in a draft statement Wednesday that the ICC “is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines” and he intends to withdraw “given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration” by the court and by United Nations officials.
The ICC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Notice to withdraw from the Rome Statute, which underpins the ICC, is a year-long process, a period Mr. Duterte said he wouldn’t recognize.
The firebrand president has clashed with activists, the media, foreign governments, opposition politicians and the courts over his drug war, in what human-rights activists say constitutes a slide toward authoritarianism and mirrors similar moves in other emerging economies around the world.
Activists accuse Mr. Duterte of smearing the reputations of opponents and seeking prosecution or impeachment for those who criticize him, including a senator currently in prison on drugs charges and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who is under pressure to step down or risk impeachment over allegations of abuse of office.
Mr. Duterte denies that his actions are politically motivated and says his drug war is both popular and necessary.
The decision to withdraw from the ICC caps weeks of insult-trading between Mr. Duterte and officials of the United Nations. The Philippines recently named hundreds of people it said were affiliated with terrorist groups, including the U.N.’s special rapporteur on indigenous people, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. U.N. officials called the classification an attempt to target its staff for their advocacy.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein last week suggested Mr. Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist.
The ICC, which is separate from the United Nations and given legitimacy over member countries by an international treaty, investigates war crimes and state-sponsored killings in member countries and has in the past prosecuted heads of government.
Last year Burundi became the first country to leave the 15-year-old ICC, and was followed by notices to leave—later withdrawn—by Gambia and South Africa. The ICC is investigating possible crimes against humanity in Burundi, which has previously said it is a victim of propaganda by exiles and opponents.
Write to Jake Maxwell Watts at [email protected]
Source link : https://www.wsj.com/articles/philippines-plans-to-withdraw-from-international-criminal-court-1521017321
Publish date : 2018-03-14 08:49:11