MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ruled that President Rodrigo Duterte cannot invoke the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute to skirt the investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) of charges that he committed crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands in his brutal war on drugs.
Voting unanimously, the 15-member tribunal also held that the President could not arbitrarily terminate international agreements without the concurrence of the Senate.
In a stinging rebuke of the position of Duterte and Malacañang, the high court ruled that as a state party the Philippines was bound to recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC and cooperate with its processes even after its withdrawal from the treaty that created the international court.
“Withdrawing from the Rome Statute does not discharge a state party from the obligations it has incurred as a member,” the court said in a 101-page decision authored by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
“Consequently, liability for the alleged summary killings and other atrocities committed in the course of the war on drugs is not nullified or negated here,” it said in its March 16 resolution, exactly three years after the government filed its notice of withdrawal from the treaty.
A copy of the decision was released to the media only on Wednesday.