Reactions to Philippines announcement to leave ICC

A candle light vigil for victims of alleged extra judicial killings during the war on drugs in the Philippines © AFP
The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has announced that he will seek to withdraw the country from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Here's a round up of reaction from civil society in the Philippines and around the world, the president of the Assembly of States Parties, the European Union, and Duterte's legal advisors.

WE CONDEMN IMPUNITY. Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court on the declared withdrawal from the ICC

Philippines - We are appalled with the declaration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the Philippines to withdraw being a state-party to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court.

The Philippines has been the stage of war crimes and other related atrocities during World War 2 when its people and communities fell victim to the atrocities of war. It has also witnessed similar barbarities brought about by a dictatorship and its internal armed conflict. It is no surprise then that Filipinos and the Philippines as a country advocated and participated actively in the negotiation and adoption of the Rome Statute.

The Filipinos value and stand for accountability by addressing impunity against the most atrocious crimes, particularly genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crime of aggression.

It took quite a number of years again for the Philippine government to ratify the Rome Statute after being signed in 2000. Yet with the tireless efforts of human rights advocates and with the strong support of champions within the Senate led by the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the Executive Branch of government finally submitted the Rome Statue to the Senate for the eventual concurrence of ratification.

Again, the Filipino people shouted and stood for justice.

The current move of President Duterte to withdraw from the ICC goes against the aspirations of the Filipino people for justice and accountability. It goes against addressing impunity for the most atrocious crimes. The Filipino people’s hopes and dreams for holding human rights violators accountable should not be doused by a single man’s fear of accountability.

We condemn to the strongest terms possible the continued attack on democratic and human rights institutions that promote and bring about justice. We condemn impunity.

The planned withdrawal of President Duterte does not save him from any accountability that he may be subjected to since the withdrawal is not immediate. But what it does is that it again exposes Filipinos to possible atrocious crimes without resort to justice and accountability. Sadly, this move is anti-people.

We challenge the President to think of the Filipino people and stop thinking of just himself.

- ATTY. RAY PAOLO J. SANTIAGO 
PCICC Chairperson

Duterte’s decision to withdraw from Int’l Criminal Court ‘anti poor’


President of the Assembly of States Parties responds to announcement of withdrawal from the Rome Statute by the Philippines

The President of the Assembly of States Parties, Mr. O-Gon Kwon (Republic of Korea), has expressed concern in response to the announcement that President Rodrigo Duterte has taken steps for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”).

“I regret this development. A State Party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts towards fighting impunity”, said President Kwon. “The ICC needs the strong support of the international community to ensure its effectiveness. I encourage the Philippines to remain as a party to the Rome Statute.”

President Kwon recalled that the Philippines has participated actively in the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute since becoming a State Party in 2011, and as recently as December 2017 had publicly reaffirmed its support for the principles of the Rome Statute and the Court.

 “All States Parties have the opportunity to voice their concerns before the Assembly, and I call on the authorities of the Philippines to engage in dialogue in this regard”, President Kwon stated.

 The Assembly of States Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC. It is comprised of representatives of States that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute. President Kwon was elected President of the Assembly for a three year mandate in December 2017.


EU regrets the Philippines' decision to initiate withdrawal from the ICC

The European Union regrets the Republic of the Philippines decision to initiate its withdrawal from the Rome Statute. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a key institution to assist citizens achieve justice when confronted with the most serious crimes, where this is not possible at the national level. We all have a shared interest in strengthening the rule of law and working together with the ICC. The EU and its Member States remain staunch supporters of the ICC and are committed to full co-operation on the prevention of serious crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Court. Where concerns are raised within the framework of the Rome Statute, we remain open for constructive discussion.


Philippines coalition for the ICC condemns Duterte plan to withdraw from ICC

The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) says the withdrawal as a member-state from the ICC exposes Filipinos to possible atrocious crimes without resort to justice and accountability.


Coalition says ICC was set up to protect people

On Thursday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office became the venue of the press conference by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), a network of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that worked for the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

“When despotic leaders and authoritarian leaders try to defend themselves against the principles of the Rome Statute and other instruments [like the ICC], we should always take into account that these instruments were crafted for the protection of the people against such crimes against humanity,” said former CHR Chair Etta Rosales, also a former chair of the PCICC.

It was quite the reverse with the President’s men, Rosales said. “Why are they protecting him? The ICC was set up precisely to try despotic leaders who get away with murder because impunity is the central question, the abuse of power.”

PCICC Chair Ray Paolo Santiago said Mr. Duterte ought “to change his mind and realize that this is not about him.”

“This is a mechanism that would address impunity for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.


Aquino explains why Philippines joined ICC

 

Former President Benigno Aquino III in a press conference on March 15, 2018, explains why the Philippines joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), but refuses to comment specifically on the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC

 

PH withdrawal 'the beginning of the end' for ICC- Harry Roque interview

The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte believes the Philippines' withdrawal from the International Criminal Court is "the beginning of the end" for the court, as it will start an avalanche of withdrawal of other countries.

 

 

Harry Roque's blog post on Philippines accession to the Rome Statute

Duterte's statement on Int'l Criminal Court withdrawal

PH lawyers are amused with Duterte’s ICC arguments

Early Edition: Duterte afraid of ICC? I don't think so – Panelo

The chief lawyer of President Rodrigo Duterte claimed on Thursday that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) "Rome Statue" does not recognize the Philippine Constitution, justifying the country's withdrawal from the treaty.


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