Philippines set to quit ICC after Burundi withdrawal.

The Philippines is on track to officially withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which is examining alleged crimes committed during President Rodrigo Dutere’s drug war, as attempts by the opposition to block the move appear to be failing.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Philippines is threatening to quit the International Criminal Court, and thus bein the second country after Burundi, to quit this International body of justice. The ICC is sometimes at odds with developing countries of Africa and some Asian countries over the alleged human rights abuse.

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte,  is accused by the ICC to commit human rights abuse by killing and torturing the Philippine people in his drug war endeavor to cut off any drug addicts in the country.

According to Nikkei Review, the Philippines withdrawal from the ICC is set to take effect on Sunday, a year after the Duterte administration informed The Hague-based ICC of its intention to pull out of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the court.

The Philippines is the second country to leave the ICC, after Burundi in 2017. The Gambia and South Africa stepped out of the fold in 2016 but joined again the following year.

The Philippines’s move, which comes with the country’s human rights profile increasingly under the global spotlight, could hurt the Philippines’ international image, a human rights lawyer said.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in February 2018 opened a “preliminary examination” to “analyze crimes allegedly committed” by the government in the drug war.

Nikkei Review reports that the case was filed in 2017 by Jude Sabio, the lawyer of a self-confessed assassin who claims to have been part of a Duterte death squad in Davao, where the president began his brutal anti-drug campaign while mayor. The complaint cites Duterte and other government officials.

Since Duterte took office in mid-2016, over 5,000 drug suspects have been killed according to government figures. Human rights activists and third-party monitors say the death toll could be four times higher.

Duterte says that the ICC is ‘biased’.

Duterte says the court is biased. “Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute,” he said last year, “and that there is clear bias on the part of the U.N. against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute.”

‘Opposition to Duterte’s plan seems to be faltering’.

Opposition senators have attempted to block the move, arguing before the Philippine Supreme Court that withdrawal requires the approval of a majority of senators, similar to when the country enters into a treaty.

But the Supreme Court is unlikely to decide on the case this week, allowing the withdrawal to proceed, local media have reported, citing court sources.


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