Manila , Philippines, Mar 18 – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged other nations to follow his move to quit the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly drug war.
Duterte lashed out at the war crimes tribunal days after his government notified the United Nations of his decision to withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute which set up the court.
“I said withdraw simply because to announce to the world, and I will convince everybody now who (is) under the treaty: get out, get out. It is rude,” Duterte said in a speech to Philippine Military Academy graduates.
“It is not a document that was prepared by anybody. It’s an EU-sponsored (treaty),” he added, as he criticised the court for allegedly going after “blacks”.
The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown that has prompted international concern.
Duterte, 72, won elections in mid-2016 vowing to launch an unprecedented drug war in which tens of thousands of people would die.
Police say they have killed 4,100 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.
The ICC, which opened in 2002, is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.
The Philippines on Thursday told the UN it was withdrawing from the ICC, triggering warnings from a top tribunal official that it would harm global efforts to end impunity for the world’s worst crimes.
Officially quitting the court requires a year’s notice and does not stop the ICC from continuing its examination of the killings.
However Duterte on Sunday insisted the ICC could not prosecute him since the treaty was not published locally, in violation of domestic laws.
“That treaty, if you read it, it’s all bull,” Duterte said.
He added that the ICC was part of efforts of “white idiots in the EU” to “atone” for wrongdoings in Africa and the Middle East.
“These people when they went to Africa, they killed the Arabs…. it is really an atonement for their sins. And then they run after either the blacks, when there are so many problems but they still meddle,” he said.
Should the Philippines fully withdraw from the court it would follow the African nation of Burundi, which in October 2017 became the first country to leave.