International Criminal Court comes under withering fire from Duterte again

September 23, 2018
Rodrigo R. Duterte

“THEY are a bunch of criminals,” President Rodrigo Duterte said as he slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) anew as he rejected allegations he killed thousands of Filipinos in his war on illegal drugs.

Rodrigo R. Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte

Speaking before a gathering of doctors in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu, Duterte said if the allegations of state-sanctioned killings were true, then he would have no time to go to the toilet because the killings would “keep me busy 24 hours.”

“They want to send me to prison and try me for genocide...They are a bunch of criminals. They cannot even show me how they died, when they died, where. Nothing,” the President said, referring to the ICC, which he also called “bullshits” and “idiots” in his speech.

He said US National Security Adviser John Bolton was “right” in calling out the ICC recently.

Bolton said last week that the US will slap sanctions against the ICC judges and prosecutors should the tribunal proceed with an investigation into alleged involvement of American troops in war crimes in Afghanistan.

“I think Bolton was right. He attacked the ICC. But before that, I was the one, and it got me into a quarrel with (former US President Barack) Obama,” he said.

Duterte had repeatedly lambasted Obama whose administration had been critical of the Philippines’ war on drugs that has claimed the lives of over 4,400 people since Duterte assumed office in June 2016.

Then the President, earlier this month, apologized to Obama but said he had also forgiven the former US leader for his remarks against the drug war.

“I’m not the favorite of everybody and I don’t care. I was not elected by America. I was elected by the Filipino people. I answer only to Filipinos. Not to [a] foreigner,” he said, as he lamented anew the alleged meddling by the European Union in his domestic policies.

“Who are you to run my country? They try to impose their values and the way they think how a criminal is categorized and classified and they want to impose it. It’s neocolonialism,” he said.

Duterte is currently facing two communications in connection with the drug war before the ICC, which opened in February a preliminary examination to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the matter and a full-blown investigation would serve the interests of justice and of the victims.

Duterte responded by withdrawing the Philippines’ membership in the ICC in March, a move challenged by opposition senators before the Supreme Court.

He had repeatedly said that the ICC had no jurisdiction over him, arguing that the Rome Statute -- the treaty that established the court -- is not enforceable in the Philippines because it was not published in a government publication or any commercial newspaper.