Updated: Jan 20, 2020
Philippines withdrawal does not protect Rodrigo Duterte from ICC
The Philippines is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court because its government fears investigation. Other countries have never even joined. Nonetheless, the ICC is more than just a paper tiger.
Investigations continue despite withdrawal
The public perception is of a weak international criminal court that is simply shown a red card as soon as it announces an investigation. But is that perception correct?
"A country cannot evade investigation by withdrawing from the ICC. The investigations continue. Whatever has been discovered by that point will still be followed up,” says Moritz Vormbaum, a German expert in international criminal law. His colleague Claus Kress agrees: "A withdrawal from the international community of the ICC always relates to the future – the withdrawal has no retrospective effect.” Specifically, this means that if the court's preliminary investigations substantiate the allegations, the ICC will instigate proceedings against the Philippine president that will investigate his actions up to 17 March 2019.
ICC prosecutor: Probe of Duterte can’t be stopped
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday said it could not reject outright the complaint filed by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio accusing President Duterte of crimes against humanity in the government’s bloody war on drugs just because he had withdrawn it.
The OTP said the withdrawal of the complaint, or communication, “would have no impact on the ongoing preliminary examination” of the charges against Mr. Duterte.