Philippines says goodbye to the International Criminal Court

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The government of Rodrigo Duterte fears the reach of the justice system, which would explain the abandonment of this entity

Philippines says goodbye to the International Criminal Court

It has been a year since the Philippine government, headed by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, made the decision to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). Until this week this determination has had an effect since the Rome Statute requires that this be the period between the announcement and to come into force.

Leer en español: Filipinas: ¿qué efectos tiene su salida de la Corte Penal Internacional?

The Philippines is only the second country to make such a decision, after Burundi. The motivations of these governments to move away from the ICC are similar and have to do with the violation of human rights. The Central African country has a presidential regime, although the now-head of state, Pierre Nkurunziza, has been in power since 2005. According to Reuters, there is strong political repression to such an extent that a group of teenagers was captured this week for painting images of Nkurunziza in "school textbooks".

Having said that, what is Duterte's main reason for getting his country out of the ICC?

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War on drugs

Since the arrival of Duterte to the presidency, he has led an aggressive campaign against drugs in his country. As a main strategy, excessive state violence has been authorized by the Philippine military forces, allowing the troops of these institutions to shoot anyone who tried to escape the raids against drug trafficking.

According to the portal of France 24, the official figures of deaths in the context of the "war on drugs" exceeds 5,000 civilians, but other estimates suggest that the figure may be three times higher. It is unnecessary to say that there is underreporting as extrajudicial executions and that this policy allows the murder by civilians of suspects of drug consumption or trafficking.

In this sense, the concern of Duterte is understandable in the face of the investigations that the ICC has advanced in the face of its war against drug trafficking. Added to this, even if a country asks for its exit from a court like this, it cannot do anything to stop the investigations that were already underway before the formal request for the withdrawal of an organization such as the ICC. In fact, it was some of the Court's investigations that prompted the withdrawal from the Philippines a year ago.

So, what are the real effects of the withdrawal of this country from the ICC? As it can be deduced, this organization no longer has the competence to investigate future human rights violations on Philippine soil, but that does not mean that Duterte cannot be punished for the machination of a policy that clearly violates international law.

The exit from the Philippines is problematic, in any case, since the ICC is the only supranational body with the capacity to judge crimes against humanity. This does not mean that Duterte cannot be tried since the justice of his country has all the capacity and jurisdiction to judge the Philippine president for his crimes.

The appeal of the regional director of Amnesty International for East and Southeast Asia and Oceania, Nicholas Bequelin sums up what can happen with the case of Duterte: "the brave citizens of the Philippines who question the 'war on drugs' or seek justice for their loved ones, they need international support to help them end this climate of fear, violence, and impunity. " In short, it depends to a large extent on the Filipino citizens to put an end to barbarism, supported by the international community.


LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Translated from "Filipinas: ¿qué efectos tiene su salida de la Corte Penal Internacional?"

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