Philippinesâ withdrawal from ICC a âcowardly optionâ â Amnesty

Amnesty International said the latest move of the Philippine government shows that those in power are “more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings” than they are in ensuring justice for the victims of the ferocious “war on drugs.” Presidential Photo/King Rodriguez

Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC a ‘cowardly option’ — Amnesty
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 15, 2018 - 3:35pm
MANILA, Philippines — London-based rights group Amnesty International slammed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw the Philippines’ inclusion in the International Criminal Court, calling the move “misguided” and “deeply regrettable.”
 
Duterte on Wednesday announced the country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, the international that created ICC, “effectively immediately.” 
 
One of the reasons he cited was the supposedly illegal attempt by the international tribunal’s prosecutor to place him under ICC’s jurisdiction. 
 
But James Gonzalez, AI’s regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that the government is attempting to run away from accountability.
 
“If the Philippines truly believed that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, they should challenge that in the proper way—which is at the ICC,” Gonzalez. 
 
He added: “Instead, they have taken the cowardly option of trying to evade justice.”
 
 
The AI executive noted that the latest move of the Philippine government shows that those in power are “more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings” than they are in ensuring justice for the victims of the ferocious “war on drugs.”
 
He, however, said that the country’s withdrawal “comes too late” to stop the ICC preliminary examination. 
 
Last month, the international tribunal announced that it had opened an initial inquiry into the alleged killings linked to the government’s crackdown on illegal narcotics. 
 
“Duterte cannot stop international accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute,” Gonzalez said. 
 
Human Rights Watch also said that the court could still prosecute any international crimes committed while the Philippines is still an ICC member. 
 
 
According to the Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal shall take effect a year after the written notification of the withdrawal is received by the United Nations secretary-general. 
 
“Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing state had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective,” the treaty also said.  
 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS HUMAN RIGHTS ICC RODRIGO DUTERTE
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