President Rodrigo Duterte sings as he attends a meeting with the Filipino community in Hong Kong, Thursday, April 12, 2018. Duterte is on a three-day private visit to Hong Kong. AP/Kin Cheung
MANILA, Philippines — Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte questioned the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to conduct a preliminary investigation against him.
Duterte, in a speech upon arriving from China, threatened to arrest ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda if she pushes through with the investigation into the allegations against Duterte.
“If we are not members of the treaty, why are you f****** in this country? You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you,” Duterte said.
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The Philippines recently pulled out from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. The withdrawal, however, would only be effective one year after the official notification.
Despite the Philippines withdrawal from the international treaty, the ICC is still mandated to continue its preliminary investigation into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Duterte insisted that Bensouda does not have jurisdiction over him and that the Philippines was never a member of the ICC.
“There is no basis at all because we were never—the Philippines was not ever, ever a member of that ICC for the reason that there was no publication,” Duterte said.
The Duterte administration had been claiming that the Rome Statute was not enforceable in the country as it was not published in the Official Gazette.
On the other hand, publication in the Official Gazette is not among the usual requirements to enforce a treaty, according to jurisprudence and Philippine guidelines.
The president insisted that the position of the international court on his case was “flawed.”
“At hindi ako matatakot, I said, you can never call me to the International Criminal Court simply because your position is flawed. It cannot be corrected anymore,” he said.
Upon withdrawal from the ICC, the Philippines assured the international community that the government would continue to be guided by the rule of law.
“The Government remains resolute in effecting its principal responsibility to ensure the long-term safety of the nation in order to promote inclusive national development and secure a decent and dignified life for all,” the Philippines said in its letter to the United Nations.
The Philippines said that its decision to withdraw from the treaty was a “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights.”
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