Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Philippines Plans to Withdraw From International Criminal Court

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein
Melinda Barton | 14 March, 2018, 11:15

In February, Duterte said that soldiers encountering female NPA members should "shoot them in the vagina" - the latest in a series of remarks that have provoked uproar among political opponents at home and in global organisations such as the United Nations, which has spoken out against the Philippine government's "war on drugs".

The Commission on Human Rights urges the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop attacking human rights defenders.

While official government data show at least 4,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations since July 2016, human rights groups such as the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) estimate that up to 12,000 people could have fallen victim to Duterte's policies.

Duterte alleged that the ICC was "being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines" after its prosecutor "prematurely" announced a preliminary examination of allegations against him relating to killings amid his campaign against illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte has made a decision to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of a United Nations treaty that created the International Criminal Court, just as the international body started its preliminary examination of the charges against the Filipino leader in connection to the war on drugs.

The bloodshed during the war on drugs, Duterte's signature policy, has caused worldwide alarm and fierce criticism from several United Nations rapporteurs and human rights officials.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.

"There being no publication of the said law, it stands to reason that the Rome Statute cannot be enforceable in the Philippines hence the International Criminal Court has not acquired nor can it acquire jurisdiction over my person", he said.

Reacting to Duterte's vulgarity, Zeid on Friday said that it was "absolutely disgraceful that the president of a country could speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected". She accused Duterte of targeting the United Nations official due to her criticism of alleged killings of indigenous people in the Mindanao region, where Duterte imposed martial law past year, to battle an Islamist insurgency. Carlos Conde, a researcher with the group Human Right Watch said that the petition to the court was basically a hit list.

The woman in question - Vicky Tauli-Corpuz says she now fears for her safety.

Also on the list were four former Catholic priests and former congressman Satur Ocampo, who said he would challenge any "terrorist" label.

Concluding the statement, Cayetano noted that the "world actually needs more Dutertes―leaders with empathy; leaders who listen to their people; and leaders who are ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their people".