Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on President Duterte's withdrawal from the ICC
President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), only exposed his fear of being subjected to international scrutiny and prosecution. President Duterte's latest pronouncement may have damned him more as he may have unwittingly displayed his guilt over the crimes he stands accused of.
May I remind President Duterte that even if he declared the country's withdrawal from the treaty, it will not discharge our country of its obligations while it was still a party to the said agreement. In fact, it will not affect our country's cooperation with the ICC conducting criminal investigations which were initiated before the said withdrawal.
Simply put, President Duterte can still be held liable for offenses committed while the Philippines was signatory to the ICC, even assuming the withdrawal is lawful — which is not the case as article 127 of The Rome Statute says that a withdrawal is effective only one year after receipt of notification.
Thus, President Duterte's so-called declaration of the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute has no effect whatsoever on the ICC's criminal examination of the complaint filed against him.
Instead of trying to desperately evade his international obligations and escape accountability for his actions, President Duterte should just recognize the ICC processes and accord it due respect.
If the President believes that he is innocent of the charges lodged against him, if the countless extrajudicial killings under his bloody drug war are just the product of our imagination, and if his government's war against drugs is not abusive and corrupt, he has nothing to fear from the ICC. On the contrary, he should see the ICC process as an opportunity to clear his name and rehabilitate his reputation before the international community.
There is no hiding from truth, justice and accountability. There is no hiding from the ICC, Mr. President. #
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