politics and governance

Why Rodrigo Duterte is withdrawing Philippines from Rome Statute

Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Facebook/Rody Duterte)

Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Facebook/Rody Duterte)

On March 14, 2018, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 72, President of the Republic of the Philippines, explained through a statement why the Philippines is withdrawing from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). Read the entire statement here:


There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the UN special rapporteurs to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extra-judicial killings. On the other hand, the International Criminal Court prematurely made a public pronouncement of a preliminary examination which effectively created the impression that I am to be charged in the International Criminal Court for series crimes falling under its jurisdiction. All these acts are in violation of due process and constitutional presumption of innocence.

The attempt to place me under the jurisdiction of the ICC is brazen display of ignorance of the law. The ICC has no jurisdiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person.

The Rome Statute to which the Philippines is a signatory and the law that I am supposed to be charged under is not effective nor enforceable in the Philippines. Under our law, particularly the New Civil Code, a law shall become effective only upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Devoid of the legal required publication, the Rome Statute is ineffective and unenforceable.

The effectivity of the Rome Statute which is sixty days after the submission by a signatory state of its ratification to the Secretary General as provided thereto cannot prevail over our law.

An international law cannot supplant, prevail or diminish a domestic law.

Even assuming that ICC can have jurisdiction over my person still the acts complained of purportedly committed by me do not fall under the enumerated grounds by which the ICC can assume jurisdiction.

The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. Neither is it a crime of aggression or a crime against humanity. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operation lacked the intent to kill. The self-defense employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law hence they do not incur criminal liability.

The actuations and statement of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein readily show international bias and refusal of some sectors of the international community to support the Philippine’s legitimate efforts at self-determination, nation building and independence from foreign influence and control. Coupled with the implication of culpability that the preliminary examination by the prosecutor Fatou Besouda unduly and maliciously created, it is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines. Given the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute and that there is clear bias on the part of the UN against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute.

When the Philippine government made itself a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the internationally accepted principles of justice in relation to our Constitutional requirement on due process will be upheld.

Given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the International Criminal Court special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, in violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Statute, I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.

I also give notice that Article 127 of the Rome Statute providing that:

“Article 127


  1. A state may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, withdraw from this Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date.” –

is not applicable in so far as the effectivity of the withdrawal of the Philippines a a signatory to the Rome Statute is concerned, for the reason that there appears to be fraud in entering such agreement.

The Philippines in ratifying the Rome Statute was made to believe that the principle of complementarity shall be observed; that the principle of due process and the presumption of innocence as mandated by our Constitution and the Rome Statute shall prevail; and that the legal requirement of publication to make the Rome Statute enforceable shall be maintained.

As demonstrated above, the very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory to the Rome Statute have not been observed nor complied with hence the rescission of such agreement or the withdrawal of our country’s ratification of the Rome Statute is in order.



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