Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced that his country may withdraw from the International Criminal Court, following Russia’s step to withdraw from the process of joining the international body.
In a pre-departure briefing in Davao City on Thursday, before the president left for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit to be held in Peru, Duterte voiced his displeasure with the United States, saying that if Russia and China created a “new order,” the Philippines would be the first to join it, Reuters reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved an order to stop the country from joining the ICC after the body ruled that Russia’s activity in Crimea were an “ongoing occupation.”
While Russia had signed the Rome statute — governing the ICC — in 2000, the country failed to ratify it and thus never became a member.
The ICC can pass judgment on four international crimes — genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression — and Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula was ruled as an armed conflict with Ukraine, bringing it under the court’s jurisdiction.
Duterte cited harsh criticism from Western nations over his war on drugs in Philippines as the reason for him to consider abandoning the ICC.
Almost 2,300 people have been killed in police operations or by suspected vigilantes after Duterte took office as president on June 30. These figures, issued by the Philippines police, were revised last month from an original tally of 3,600 deaths.
The ICC has seen a string of withdrawals over the years with the U.S. backing out under the leadership of George W Bush. Sudan, Israel, South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia have all withdrawn or decided to withdraw from the court that has only brought charges against Africans in this 14-year history.
Other nations like China and India have rejected the court’s membership.