Duterte threatens to pull out from International Criminal Court

Manila, Nov 17 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, following criticism from Western countries of his aggressive anti-drug campaign.

Duterte called the international organisation useless for failing to understand the anti-drug measures adopted by the Philippines, Efe news reported.

In October, Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the ICC at The Hague, had voiced concerns over the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Asian country and said she would monitor the situation closely.

If it follows through on its threat, the Philippines will be following in the footsteps of Russia, which on Wednesday withdrew from the founding Rome statute of the ICC.

“They are useless, those in the international criminal (court). They (Russia) withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered,” said Duterte, before leaving for Lima to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

Duterte, who is expected to meet Putin in Peru, added that he will be the first to join China and Russia if they decide to create a new world order, following cooling of ties with the US.

Bilateral relations between the traditional allies have deteriorated since Duterte took office in June and he expressed reluctance to continue with joint military drills with the US, although he agreed to honour existing bilateral defence agreements.

Following years of conflict over the sovereignty of a handful of atolls and islets in the South China Sea, the Philippines has now initiated a progressive rapprochement with China.

Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the territorial dispute and other matters during the former’s state visit to China on October 20.