ICC withdrawal: Philippines may lose international community’s trust
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The international community may lose trust in the Philippines if the Duterte administration pushes through with its planned withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC), a lawyer warned yesterday.

Barry Gutierrez, legal counsel to Vice President Leni Robredo, said foreign relations depend on a certain level of trustworthiness and consistency with regard to the country’s positioning internationally.

“Positioning yourself outside of the mainstream of the international legal system is never going to be a good thing,” Gutierrez said in an interview with ANC.

“If you’re dealing with a country which is unreliable, which has a poor track record on human rights, which does not abide by the rule of law, then that’s not going to be an encouraging sign for other countries to ask their citizens to invest in this country or for these countries to enter into trade agreements,” he added.

Gutierrez also hopes that government officials, like presidential spokesman Harry Roque, would be able to convince President Duterte to reconsider his move.

In his speech at the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City on Sunday, Duterte urged other countries that ratified the Rome Statute to withdraw from the treaty.

This came after the ICC announced its intention to conduct a preliminary examination on the thousands of extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte’s war on drugs, which he launched when he assumed the presidency in 2016.

The Philippines on Friday formally notified the United Nations of its decision to withdraw from the ICC.

But the ICC said the preliminary review of the war on drugs would push through despite the country’s withdrawal from the treaty.

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