Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday threatened to arrest investigators of the International Criminal Court (ICC) should they visit the Philippines to conduct an inquiry on the alleged state sanctioned killings being linked to his war on drugs.
Duterte maintained that the ICC had no jurisdiction on the communication filed by lawyer Jude Sabio in April last year, arguing that the Rome Statute—the treaty that established the court—is not enforceable in the Philippines because it was not published in the government’s publication or commercial newspaper.
The Philippines had already withdrawn its membership in the ICC on Duterte’s orders last month.
“Kaya ikaw Ms. Fatou [ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda], ‘wag kang pumunta dito because I will bar you. Not because I am afraid of you, I said, because you will never have jurisdiction over my person, not in a million years,” the President said at a press briefing in Davao City upon his arrival from a working visit to China.
“But what is your authority now? If we are not members of the treaty, why are you f____ in this country? You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you,” he said.
The President said he was not afraid of an investigation but “you can never call me to the International Criminal Court simply because your position is flawed.”
“It cannot be corrected anymore. So stop your nonsense,” he added.
In withdrawing the Philippines’ membership in the tribunal, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration and the alleged attempt of Bensouda to place him under the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
Duterte declared the exit from the tribunal roughly a month after the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor announced that it would begin its preliminary examination on the alleged extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, which kicked off on July 1, 2016.
The President has since urged other nations to get out of the ICC.