Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared that his country will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Previously, the United States and more recently Russia took a similar move by withdrawing their signatures that would have served as a future basis for becoming full members of the ICC. The ICC has become an increasingly discredited institution known more for its racial bias than its ability to bring prolific war criminals to justice. Fellow ASEAN members Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Laos have never been members, nor have other Asian states including China, Pakistan and India.
The highly politicised ICC has become infamous for its prosecutions of black Africans while its sister organisation, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has been highly criticised for its bias against ethnic Serbs, in spite of many other groups in the region committing atrocities against civilians in the 1990s, including the ethnic Albanian terrorist group KLA.
The Philippine President’s decision comes after the ICC began a preliminary investigation into so-called “crimes against humanity” regarding Duterte’s tough law and order stance against drug crime. His decision is perfectly legal, as it is the head of state’s prerogative to withdraw from any treaty based organisation including the ICC, just as the former US President and current Russian President have done.
Duterte’s move follows a recommendation made in Eurasia Future on 11 February of this year. At the time, I wrote the following:
“Many Filipino politicians, including the permanently disgraced Senator Antonio Trillanes IV have helped promote complaints to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is considering investigating President Rodrigo Duterte on charges related to so-called “extra-judicial killings’. The entire charade is an attempt on the part of Duterte’s domestic and international opponents to stifle his Presidency which has undermined the power of failed politicians with old fashioned views and their rich business oligarch supporters.
In particular, many in the US who seek to restore the old “colonial mentality” that Duterte has replaced with a strong and sovereign Philippines, are busying themselves with anti-Duterte conspiracies. Thus far, none is bigger than the conspiracy to bring Duterte before an International Criminal Court which itself is so discredited that neither the US, Russia or China are members. Likewise, of all the ASEAN states only Philippines and Cambodia are members, but this might soon change as Duterte has the power to simply withdraw Philippines from ICC jurisdiction.
During a recent press briefing, Duterte revealed that he received a transcript of a phone conversation that the US based Loida Nicolas Lewis held with an unnamed official regarding orchestrating an ICC investigation into Duterte. Loida Nicolas Lewis, who became a millionaire when she married an American businessman, has been accused of pouring large sums of money into anti-Duterte campaigns both in The Philippines and abroad. Duterte thanked his supporters abroad (ostensibly in the US) for providing him with the transcript. Duterte stated, “Loida was one of them (conspirators). And there was this, ‘See you in the headquarters when the case is filed’. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.
Duterte appears to be in possession of evidence which leads to the undeniable fact that the ICC scandal is yet another politicised attempt to remove Duterte from power, against the wishes of the majority of Filipinos who remain supportive of his policies which have helped cleanse the streets of dangerous individuals whose drug habit funds organised crime and terrorism.
Duterte further blasted the ICC saying,
‘There is no fucking provision of extrajudicial killing. It is not defined anywhere so how can you now accuse me of a crime. There are so many massacres happening in all parts of Asia and you pick on me. You better clear that up because I will withdraw from the ICC’.
As the head of state, Duterte is correct in saying he has every right to withdraw his country from ICC jurisdiction, just as Russia did in 2016. The ICC has garnered a reputation of conducting totally biased operations, having disproportionately tried and convicted African leaders while ignoring the war crimes of the United States, “Israel” and their powerful European allies, including Britain and France. The ICC’s sister body, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has also been accused of ignoring the crimes of Bosnian and Albanian terrorists while focusing only on Serb leaders during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Most promintely, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević died while in the Tribunal’s custody under deeply mysterious circumstances, only to be exonerated of wrongdoing years after he died in prison. Just last year, a Croat commander Slobodan Praljak, committed suicide in open court by drinking poison, after having given a short statement rejecting the court’s legitimacy.
Not one to go down without a fight, Duterte issued words of warning to the corrupt ICC stating,
‘Do not go into that adventure. It’s a messy one…You will get your comeuppance’.
Duterte further defied ICC officials to shoot him, rather than being subjected to the kangaroo court that the ICC has been exposed for being. Far from a noble organisation designed to exact justice against those who commit crimes against humanity, the ICC has become a racist farce in which representatives of powerful neo-imperial countries humiliate political and military leaders of smaller, poorer and less influential states. The fact that hardly a single white face has sat on the defendant’s chair while most prosecutors are from rich western countries, says it all. It is judicial slavery dressed up as a fair trial.
More and more countries are rejecting the jurisdiction and even the premise of the ICC because of this very fact. Duterte should join the majority of Asian countries, including not just fellow ASEAN members but also China, India and Pakistan and reject all ties to the ICC. This is Duterte’s right and because of how traitorous Filipinos and the foreign enemies of The Philippines are attempting to use the ICC to slander the dignity, sovereignty and democratic will of the Filipino people, Duterte must protect them and put the ICC in its place, just as other nations have done and certainly will do in the near future”.
Duterte’s decision is the correct one for his country. The Philippines has no reason to lower itself before an organisation that is designed to inflict political agendas onto developing nations, while retarding their growth and their full ability to exercise sovereignty over their own land.
In taking this decision, Duterte has demonstrated once again that he will put the safety, progress, well being and health of his people above those that seek to undermine him for their own material gain.