Duterte claims Rome Statute has never been binding on PH
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ signing of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC), has never been published in the Official Gazette and was, therefore, it never binding in the first place, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday in a taped briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“The executive department has no copy,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino. “That’s because what happened was from Congress — Congress ratified it — instead of returning the treaty as ratified by Congress to the executive department, they short-circuited it. They went straight to Rome and appended the Philippine participation.”
“There’s no publication [in the Official Gazette],” he went on. “When there’s no publication, there’s no jurisdiction. There’s no recorded publication. According to the Supreme Court, the absence of a publication in the Official Gazette is always fatal.”
In 2018, under threat of being sued at the International Criminal Court for the drug war killings, Duterte declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
He said the move was “nothing really” but an “empty gesture” since there was “nothing to withdraw in the first place.”
“I did it just to impress upon everybody that there really was no law. When I withdrew, I was really withdrawing nothing, because until it [could be] established that there was publication [only] then it [would it become a] law,” he said.
The Supreme Court earlier ruled that Duterte could not invoke the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute to skirt the investigation by the prosecutor of the ICC of charges that he committed crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands in his brutal drug war.
Malacañang has repeatedly said, however, that the government would not cooperate in the probe.
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