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The president stated that the ICC had demonstrated "brazen ignorance of the law" and due to its alleged fraudulent implication in the Philippines, the Rome Statute was null and could not, therefore, be enforced.

As President Rodrigo Duterte made a decision to pull the Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), his mouthpiece believes that this move will be "the beginning of the end" for the court, as it will start an "avalanche" of withdrawal of other states.

Duterte also said that the accusations and statements of United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and the High Commissioner on Human Rights Zaid Ra'ad al-Hussein shows "international bias" and the refusal of worldwide community to support the country's "legitimate efforts and self-determination, nation building and independence from foreign influence and control".

The Philippines has given official notice to the United Nations that it will exit the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court, the government said Friday.

The move came barely a month after the ICC launched a preliminary examination into thousands of deaths linked to Mr Duterte's signature war on drugs campaign.

Under the Article 127 of the Rome Statue, the withdrawal of the Philippines would become effective one year after the United Nations secretary-general received a written notice the State party.

Mr Duterte's chief critics said the move was a U-turn that showed the tough-talking leader was now in panic mode.

He also cited the supposed failure of the previous government to publish the treaty in the Official Gazette or newspaper of general circulation as a reason why it is "not effective nor enforceable" in the Philippines.

Activist priest Robert Reyes said the president's decision is "clearly an act of open defiance not only against the ICC but what it represents".

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Senator Antonio Trillanes said Duterte was withdrawing "because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC".

"Our decision to pull out of the Court is a principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights", Cayetano said in a statement issued shortly after arriving on Friday in Sydney.

The examination is meant to determine if the ICC has jurisdiction over the case.

"In fact, it will not affect our country's cooperation with the ICC conducting criminal investigations which were initiated before the said withdrawal, " she pointed out.

Lagman said Duterte "cannot overcome overwhelming evidence against him consisting of his own incriminating utterances of instigation and condonation, and unassailable records of extrajudicial killings consequent to his deadly war on drugs". He argued Wednesday that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or similar atrocities.

Lagman expressed fear that the worldwide community will lose trust in the Philippines "because a country which does not honor its commitments does not deserve the trust of other states".

The Duterte administration's obstinacy and truculence could result in a failure in the war on drugs despite more lives lost and eventually, the President and his top officials would be held accountable for their crimes against humanity and the Filipino people.

The withdrawal takes effect one year after the secretary-general receives notification, according to ICC rules.


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