SC takes no action on petition vs PH’s withdrawal from ICC

The Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court the same day the treaty was entered into force on July 1, 2002. REUTERS

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) did not make any action on the petition against the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will take effect March 17.

It did not issue any ruling on various petitions during its en banc session on Tuesday, the last before President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from Rome Statute will become official.

“The withdrawal from ICC takes effect, without prejudice to the Supreme Court resolving the petitions later on and ruling on the prayer for issuance of writ of mandamus,” an SC official said.

There are two petitions questioning withdrawal – first from opposition senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV and another from Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

The petitioners told the SC that Duterte violated the Constitution when he unilaterally withdrew the country’s membership as the Constitution requires ratification of treaties and international agreements by the Senate.

Duterte on March 17, 2018 declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, due to “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration.

This came after the ICC announced a preliminary examination into the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country. The preliminary examination will determine whether there is cause to go on a full-blown investigation.

The Rome Statute was created to “put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes” and established the ICC the same day the treaty was entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Before the Philippines expressed their withdrawal, Burundi, Gambia, and South Africa have attempted to withdraw from the ICC. Gambia and South Africa later retracted their plan but Burundi went through with the proceedings and left the court on October 27, 2017./PN


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