Published: Wed, March 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Philippines officially out of the International Criminal Court

Philippines officially out of the International Criminal Court

Malacañang said there is nothing to worry about the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) since the country already has laws that cover jurisdictional crimes that the Rome Statute-established court caters to.

The Philippines, for instance, can no longer make China accountable for crimes of aggression in the West Philippine Sea once it's out of the ICC, pointed out Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Gabriela Women's Party-list (GWP) on the other hand, warned of the escalation of human rights abuses now that the country is already out of the ICC.

This past September, Bolton said the ICC was a direct threat to USA national security interests and he threatened its personnel with both visa revocations and financial sanctions should it try to move against Americans.

Even as the President and his advisers may imagine he can successfully escape accountability by yanking the country away from the ICC's gaze, it's ordinary Filipinos that may find themselves at the losing end of this cynical and self-serving political maneuver. "At a time of rampant atrocities in South Sudan, Myanmar and Syria, the USA is sending exactly the wrong message in targeting ICC staff simply for doing their job - bringing justice for victims of global crimes". However, these efforts did little more than erode USA credibility on worldwide justice and were abandoned. Major powers - including the US, China and Russian Federation - are not members.

The effectiveness and relevance of the ICC has been questioned by the United States before. In addition to speaking out publicly, member countries will need to work together to resist United States obstruction, Human Rights Watch said.

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The court's authority is nothing unusual.

"Our position on the matter remains clear, unequivocal and inflexible: The Philippines never became a state party to the Rome Statute which created the ICC", spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

A representative of an organization of ICC member states issued a statement on Friday, saying that the court is an independent and impartial judicial institution, and that it will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate. U.S. and other citizens who commit crimes overseas are already subject to the jurisdiction of foreign courts. In 2002, Bolton, then a State Department official, traveled to NY to ceremonially "unsign" the Rome Statute at the United Nations.

Since beginning operations in 2003, the ICC has opened investigations in 10 countries, including Darfur in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and Georgia.

"Detractors of the President are quick to harp on the alleged injustices in the Philippines".

Reprinted, with permission, from Human Rights Watch.

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