Philippines could also quit ICC

Philippine President Rodrigo Dutertet hreatened to follow in Russia’s footsteps yesterday and pull his country out of the International Criminal Court, incensed at criticism of his deadly drug war.

Russia formally withdrew its signature to the ICC’s founding Rome Statute on Wednesday, calling the tribunal’s work “one-sided and inefficient”.

Speaking in his home town of Davao in the southern Philippines shortly before flying to Peru for a regional summit, Duterte said:“[The Russians] may have thought the International Criminal Court is [useless], so they withdrew their membership.”

“I might follow. Why? Because these shameless bullies only picked on small countries like us.”

The Philippines is among 124 member countries of the UN backed ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes court.

Duterte also repeated an earlier threat to pull the Philippines out of the UN, saying the world body had failed to stop wars that had killed thousands of women and children.

“You know if China and Russia decided to create a new order, I will be the first to join,” he said.

Duterte won May elections in a land slide after vowing an unprecedented crackdown on illegal drugs.

More than 4 000 people have been killed since he took office on June 30.About 1 800 were shot dead by police and about 2 600 others murdered by unidentified attackers.

The killings have drawn criticism from Manila’s key defence ally, the United States, as well as the UN.

Duterte has struck back by calling US President Barack Obama a son of a whore and UN chief Ban Ki-moon a fool.

Last month, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was deeply concerned about thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, warning that those responsible could face prosecution.

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