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Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to withdraw the country from the International Criminal Court today (ICC), Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific James Gomez said:

 

“This is a misguided and deeply regrettable move by President Duterte, and the latest signal that powerful individuals in the Philippines are more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings than they are in ensuring justice for the many victims of the country’s brutal ‘war on drugs’.

 

“Fortunately for those victims, Duterte’s announced withdrawal comes too late to stop the ICC’s preliminary examination and the Philippines’ obligations towards the court.

 

“Duterte cannot stop international accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute.

 

“If the Philippines truly believed that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, they should challenge that in the proper way – which is at the ICC. Instead, they have taken the cowardly option of trying to evade justice.”