Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Manila slams United Nations rights chief

Manila slams United Nations rights chief

Discussing the allegations against Tauli-Corpuz in a March 9 press conference, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, provocatively suggested that Duterte should see a psychiatrist.

He said the Philippine leader "needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination".

"As demonstrated above, the very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory to the Rome Statute have not been observed nor complied with hence the Philippines hereby withdraws from the Rome Statute", he added.

In February, the ICC said it had started a preliminary examination to establish whether it had jurisdiction, and if crimes against humanity had been committed. "My God, you fools, if you are investigating us, the rule in criminal law is any statement or answer that you may give might incriminate you", Duterte said.

The UN human rights chief also called on the President to undergo a psychological examination following his supposed unacceptable remarks about human rights defenders.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said there was legal basis for the inclusion in the list of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous people, because of her alleged connections with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed component the New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

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Zeid said Duterte's attacks against UN special rapporteurs can not go unanswered and the UN Human Rights Council must take a position.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and Congressman Gary Alejano sent a supplementary communication several months later urging an ICC investigation, which included a list of public statements made by Duterte that they said amounted to "shoot-to-kill" orders.

The Philippines is not the first country to quit the ICC.

He has hit out at United Nations efforts to investigate human rights violations in the country.

He said when the Philippines became a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the worldwide accepted principles of justice in relation to its constitutional requirement on due process would be upheld.

Duterte dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

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He said the government's war on drugs was "lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers" who have destroyed the present generation, especially the youth.

Since 2016, thousands of people have been killed as part of a state-sanctioned campaign against illegal drugs that critics say is rife with extrajudicial killings and impunity for the perpetrators.

It said the withdrawal from the Rome Statue was due to the "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration" by United Nations officials, and what he said was an attempt by the ICC prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over him "in violation of due process and presumption of innocence".

He noted that the treaty has not yet been published in the Official Gazette or in newspapers even after its ratification in 2011.

Last week, he said the ICC would "not in a million years" have jurisdiction to indict him.

The President's statement is also a complete turnaround from an earlier statement, when he said he welcomed the ICC probe and that he would speak to an ICC representative one-on-one.

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