Palace thanks Russia for comment on PH exit from ICC
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacanang on Thursday thanked Russia for its comment respecting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s move to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“That’s to be expected. We would like to thank Russia for such comment,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a Palace media briefing.
On Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said his country “fully understand” and “deeply respect” the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC.
In an interview with cable ANC television, Khovaev said the ICC is not a judicial body and all its activities “are highly politicized” and being used “as instrument to put political pressure on selective countries.”
“We cannot accept certain approach that’s why my country decided to withdraw from their Rome Statute,” the Russian envoy said.
Last week, President Duterte announced his decision to withdraw from ICC “effective immediately” and has even said he would enjoin other member countries to follow suit.
President Duterte said the attacks against him and the attempt by ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to put him under ICC jurisdiction and conduct probe on the country’s war on drugs have prompted him to withdraw from the ICC.
He has explained that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him since the Rome Statute is not enforceable as a law in the Philippines as it was not published in the official gazette as required under Philippine jurisprudence when the country ratified in August 2011.
Roque disputed the ICC’s claim that the Philippines is still duty bound to cooperate with the court’s preliminary investigation on its war on drugs.
“When ICC said that we continue to be bound by a duty to cooperate, I’d like to reiterate that the President’s decision was to immediately withdraw. I don’t think ICC can look forward to cooperation from the Philippines as a state party or soon to be state party to the ICC,” Roque said.
“I don’t know how the ICC can proceed without the Philippines’ cooperation,” he added.
Roque said ICC has to rethink its options “because they are at the crossroads.”
“We could prove the ICC has been inutile and the ICC will blame its prosecutor for violating the principle of complementarity,” he added.
He said the Philippines is not alone in its decision to quit ICC, saying other countries will initiate withdrawal proceedings.
“I have read reports that countries like South Africa, although it has relented from its earlier decision to withdraw from the court, will initiate withdrawal proceedings again,” he said.
Roque said that even big countries like the United States, China and Russia are not members of the ICC. (PNA)