Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

Hontiveros charges PRRD evading scrutiny by ICC

Hontiveros charges PRRD evading scrutiny by ICC

But in a 15-page statement, dated March 13, Duterte said he was withdrawing from the ICC's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, because of "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" by United Nations officials, and ICC actions that he said failed to follow due process and presumption of innocence.

"As stated earlier, the International Criminal Courts Special Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gave a premature public announcement of a preliminary examination thereby creating the impression that I am likely to be charged before the International Criminal Court, violating, therefore, the presumption of innocence accorded me by the Constitution".

The principle of complementarity implies that ICC acquires jurisdiction over a situation if the state party is unable or unwilling to prosecute global crimes happening within its territory that are cognizable by the ICC.

"It is doubly lamentable that members of the global community, who include our own partners in the war against terror, have allowed themselves to be used as pawns by these individuals and organizations in undermining our own efforts to restore the rule of law", Cayetano added.

They said Mr Duterte's decision was an admission of guilt and a sign that he was panicking.

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In a surprise move on Wednesday, Duterte announced the country's withdrawal from the ICC as he stressed the court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines" following the "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks" against him.

Duterte spokesman Harry Roque said local authorities will investigate crimes and that there is no need for ICC involvement.

"No, because if it pushes through, the President has not said that he will not cooperate", Roque said, when asked if the President is trying to avoid accountability, once the ICC finds probable cause to investigate his drug war.

He said the withdrawal was not a way to evade an ICC investigation.

Duterte, who is buoyed by high popularity ratings at home, has fiercely defended the drug war as a battle to bring safety to the nation's 100 million people. He said 1,400 individuals were killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad under the leadership of then Mayor Duterte, and 7,000 individuals were killed in the war on drugs since Duterte took office.

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Back in 2011, then under the Benigno Aquino III administration, a reformist and staunch supporter of the United States, the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute, placing itself under the jurisdiction of the Hague-based ICC.

"Even if the process progresses to the investigation proper, he will be accorded his right to contest the charges, or even disclaim the Court's jurisdiction to try him".

Duterte, known for his tough language, previously said he was ready to face the ICC and answer all the allegations against him.

The progressive lawmaker said the Statute also states that the withdrawal would not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings, and the withdrawing State's duty to cooperate in the said investigations which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.

According to Rome Statute's Article 127, a member-state's withdrawal will take effect a year after it notifies the Secretary General of the UN. China has called on the worldwide community to respect the Philippines' sovereignty on the issue.

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