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Philippines formally serves notice of withdrawal from ICC

The Philippines has formally served notice to the United Nations of its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court to protest alleged attacks against President Rodrigo Duterte, the foreign minister said on Friday.

The notice to withdraw was conveyed in a diplomatic note handed to the office of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

“Our decision to pull out of the court is a principled stand against those who politicise and weaponise human rights,” he said.

Cayetano lamented that the ICC has been used in a “well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the international community, to crucify President Duterte and the Philippines by distorting the human rights situation in the country”.

“This campaign is being effectively carried out by elements who seek to undermine our government to advance their goal of overthrowing our democratically installed government,” he added.

The withdrawal came a month after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced an investigation into thousands of extrajudicial killings that allegedly occurred under Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs since July 1, 2016.

Human rights activists have accused Duterte of trying to run from justice with the withdrawal.

However they noted that the ICC can still investigate the president for crimes allegedly committed while the Philippines was still a member.

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