Intl Criminal Court: Philippines withdraws

Psychiatric test? World needs more Dutertes!’ Manila hits back at UN rights chief

Romeo Ranoco Reuters

Manila has accused the United Nations human rights chief of being played by certain parties to "unseat" President Rodrigo Duterte, after Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on the Philippines' leader to submit himself to a "psychiatric evaluation".

He said the President could not be blamed for his latest pronouncement, since UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's previous remark that Duterte undergo "psychiatric evaluation" was insulting.

In a more direct statement, he added, "Relevant sides of the worldwide community, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, shall respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and the will of its people, view the outcomes of the Philippines' fight against drug and terrorism in a comprehensive, unbiased and objective way, and support its efforts to move forward to its human rights cause in light of its national conditions".

The Palace on Wednesday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to issue the International Criminal Court (ICC) a notice of withdrawal. "The statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is being treated very seriously".

Roque said then Duterte would welcome the probe because "he is sick and exhausted of being accused.(by) the commission of crimes against humanity".

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Zeid was standing up for his colleagues - UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, who the government wants declared as a terrorist; and UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, who has been on the receiving end of Duterte's tirades.

"There being no publication of the said law, it stands to reason that the Rome Statute cannot be enforceable in the Philippines hence the International Criminal Court has not acquired nor can it acquire jurisdiction over my person", he said. "That is provided for in the Constitution itself, our Constitution", Duterte said. She accused Duterte of targeting the United Nations official due to her criticism of alleged killings of indigenous people in the Mindanao region, where Duterte imposed martial law a year ago, to battle an Islamist insurgency.

"Instead of attacking the messenger, states and other stakeholders should engage and address the human rights concerns raised by mandate-holders", he said in Geneva. Carlos Conde, a researcher with the group Human Right Watch said that the petition to the court was basically a hit list. He stopped doing this just a few months later after he said he was being repeatedly attacked by the New People's Army, claiming in its petition to the court that they are "using acts of terror to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government".

But Tauli-Corpuz strongly denied being a member of the CPP-NPA as she denounced her inclusion as "baseless, malicious and irresponsible" as she vowed to make accountable those people who put her life and security at risk.

Also on the list were four former Catholic priests and former congressman Satur Ocampo, who said he would challenge any "terrorist" label.

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