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Hontiveros: ‘Simple goodbye’ from ICC won’t do it for Duterte

/ 02:09 PM March 17, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte. AP FILE

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte cannot dodge calls for justice and accountability with a “simple goodbye” from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

In a statement on Sunday, Hontiveros tagged the country’s exit from the ICC as a “desperate exit plan” of the President.

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“The country’s exit from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an act to defend not Philippine sovereignty but the climate of killing and impunity in the country,” she said.

“It is President Rodrigo Duterte’s desperate exit plan to escape international public accountability for the crimes of which he is accused,” she added. “I’m sorry, Mr President, but you cannot evade calls for justice and accountability with a simple goodbye to the ICC.”

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While the senator said that the Philippines’ exit from the ICC was a backward step from the country’s commitment to international treaty obligations on human rights and democracy, withdrawing from the international court “has no effect whatsoever on the ICC’s examination of the criminal complaint filed against President Duterte.”

Hontiveros said that Duterte would still be held liable for the offenses committed while the Philippines was still part of the ICC. 

“It will not discharge our country of its obligations while it was still a party to the said agreement,” she said.

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, on August 23, 2011.

“It will also not disable our country’s cooperation with the ICC conducting criminal investigations which were initiated before the said withdrawal,” she added.

The ICC launched a “preliminary examination” in February 2018 on the accusation that Duterte had committed crimes against humanity, following a review of communications and reports documenting the alleged crimes.

A month later, Duterte declared the country’s withdrawal from the international court.

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In its letter to the ICC, the Philippines said its decision to withdraw was a “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights.”

READ: Duterte does the inevitable, declares PH withdrawal from ICC

READ: Despite PH withdrawal, ICC to keep an eye on Duterte’s drug war

Hontiveros said Duterte should “subject himself to the ICC’s processes and face the complaint filed against him” if he is “half the ‘fearless leader’ he tries to portray himself to be.”

The Philippines withdrawal from the ICC takes effect on Sunday following the Supreme Court’s failure to issue a ruling on the consolidated petitions filed by six opposition senators and Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court led by former Commission on Human Right (CHR) chairperson Loretta Rosales. /cbb

READ: Philippines nearing official withdrawal from Int’l Criminal Court

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TAGS: ICC, news, Risa Hontiveros, Rodrigo Duterte
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