Duterte to withdraw Philippines from ICC after "outrageous attacks"

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President Duterte is pulling the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of its efforts to investigate him for possible crimes against humanity during his bloody campaign against drugs.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Friday that Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist over his crude comments, including a threat to slap U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, and the inclusion of U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on a list of alleged communist terrorists operating in the country.

Adopted and signed by 123 states in 1998 at a conference in Rome, the treaty created the ICC and gave it jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines early January 30, 2017.

"This is a misguided and deeply regrettable move by President Duterte, and the latest signal that powerful individuals in the Philippines are more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings than they are in ensuring justice for the many victims of the country's brutal "war on drugs".

Lagman further pointed out that the withrawal can not derail the ongoing preliminary examination of Duterte's alleged crimes against humanity in relation to his administration's drug war.

Duterte said Wednesday that the court can not have jurisdiction over him because the Philippine Senate's ratification in 2011 of the Rome Statute that established the court was never publicized as required by law. The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil.

Under the treaty, a withdrawal is only effective one year after a country gives written notice of its decision.

"I imagine this will be an global embarrassment for the Philippines", said Hilbay, remarking that the country had once been seen as a regional leader in human rights.

Ms Callamard is leading a United Nations investigation into the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and claims that Mr Duterte has tried to "intimidate" her and her fellow special rapporteurs.

Harry Roque, Duterte's spokesman, said the firebrand leader has instructed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to notify the ICC of the Philippines' withdrawal.

It is only when the one-year period lapses that Duterte can say that the Philippines is no longer a member-state of the International Criminal Court.

Duterte "welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and exhausted of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity", Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when the examination was announced. He has refused to accept some police may be systematically executing suspected dealers, as activists say.

Police insisted on Wednesday they had strong cases against the suspects.