Philippine withdrawal from the ICC

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stands during a call with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers in Manila, Philippines, September 6, 2017.

adopted from Human Rights Watch

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) shocked the world last week. His anti-drug campaign, which, according to Al Jazeera, has resulted in more than 20,000 deaths, is being criticized by human rights defenders and human rights organizations from all over the world, and the announcement was just weeks after the tribunal declared its investigation into possible crimes against humanity over his deadly war on drugs. It allows the police in the Philippines to exercise extra judicial violence with impunity against suspected drug dealers and drug users, and has been claiming countless of lives including ones of children. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He declared the withdrawal hoping it would shut down any chance of being tried in The Hague. By trying to leave the ICC, Duterte has practically admitted that he is guilty of the allegations filled against him.

Here are human rights stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines ratified and has the obligation to observe,  he possibly violates.

Article 6, the right to life

The suspects are arbitrarily deprived of their life.

Article 9, the right to fair trial

Their right to be tried is stripped away by permitting the police to shoot them.

Article 14, the right to presumption of innocence until proved guilty according to law

The same reason as article 9. The suspects are treated guilty without being tried.

Article 20, prohibition of war propaganda

He facilitates the arbitrary and unnecessary killing with his comments, such as “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” (Human Rights Watch). War on Drugs could amount to war as it literally shows.


He also violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) article 9 the right to social security by allowing gunfire in the country.

He must face trial if he continues the anti drug campaign. Moreover, every country should stay in the UN system in order not to repeat tragedies we are forgetting today.


Phelim Kine, Justice May Be Coming For Philippine Strongman, Human Rights Watch, March 17, 2018,, accessed on March 18, 2018

Ted Regencia, Duterte announces Philippines’ ‘immediate’ withdrawal from ICC, Al Jazeera, March 14, 2018,, accessed on March 18, 2018

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,, accessed on March 18, 2018

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,, accessed on March 18, 2018



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