President Rody Duterte on Wednesday, March 14 announced that Philippines will withdraw from the ICC (International Criminal Court). The president’s bold decision was announced via a press statement released through his chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo, written by President Duterte himself, and a copy was given to reporters on the same day.
“I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as the President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.” President Duterte said in his letter. With Philippines’ withdrawal of Rome Statute, the country expects that the ICC has no longer have jurisdiction over it.
According to a rule by the Rome Statute states that a state party’s withdrawal from the ICC can only take effect a year after the written notification of the withdrawal is received by the United Nations Secretary-General. However, President Duterte disputed the one-year timeline, and insisted that that the said treaty was fraudulent right from the start.
“Under our law, particularly the New Civil Code, a law shall become effective only upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Devoid of the legal required publication, the Rome Statute is ineffective and unenforceable,” the president added, noting that the Rome Statute was never effective in the Philippines.
“It was made to believe that the principle of complementarity shall be observed, that the principle of due process and the presumption of innocence as mandated by our Constitution and the Rome Statue shall prevail, and that the legal requirement of publication to make the Rome Statute enforceable shall be maintained.” He said further.
President Duterte emphasized that the ICC treaty, which was signed on December 28, 2000 and ratified on August 23, 2011, is not “effective nor enforceable” in the country because it was not published in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper. According to him, an international law cannot supplant, prevail, or diminish a domestic law.
The president made the announcement shortly after the ICC began its investigation on extra-judicial killings (EJKs) related to the government’s war on drugs. He also reiterated that the police operations are legitimate and are not against human rights, and that if the suspects were killed, it’s because the police had to defend themselves.