03/16/2018, 10.04
PHILIPPINES
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The Hague investigates Duterte’s drug war, Manila abandons the Rome Statute

The Filipino government is accused of crimes against humanity. The police say they have killed about 4 thousand suspects for resisting arrest, but human rights groups claim that the number is three times higher. Duterte has often called on authorities to kill drug suspects by promising to protect agents from legal consequences.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Philippines government has officially announced its decision to abandon the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). The International Crime Tribunal, based in The Hague (Netherlands), had launched a preliminary investigation last month on charges of crimes against humanity in the drug war ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Filipino police say they have killed about 4 thousand suspects who resisted the arrest, but human rights groups claim that the actual number is three times higher and they accuse the murder authorities.

The government yesterday sent a letter to the United Nations, which oversaw negotiations to found the Court, to announce that the country would withdraw from the Rome Statute. "The decision is the principle position of the Philippines against those who want to politicize and transform human rights," reads the Manila statement.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano says the Philippines has taken action because of "the well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the international community and crucify President Duterte, distorting the human rights situation in the country."

The government states in the UN mission that, despite the withdrawal, the nation "renews its commitment to fight against impunity in atrocious crimes". Duterte has often called on the authorities to kill drug suspects by promising to protect the police from legal consequences. The president also stated earlier that the ICC would never have had jurisdiction over him.

Meanwhile, the ICC declares to take note of the "sovereign decision" of Manila, but warns that the move will not save Duterte from the judgment of the Court if it is decided to proceed with the investigations. "A withdrawal would have no impact on the ongoing proceedings or on any issue that was already before the Court before the date on which the withdrawal became effective," says the ICC.

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