Duterte shrugs off ICC probe

former President Rodrigo Duterte

Former President Rodrigo Duterte has brushed aside the International Criminal Court’s decision to proceed with the preliminary investigation on his administration’s drug war, his former spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.

“Former President Duterte reiterates his position that he would never allow foreigners to sit in judgment of him as long as Philippine courts are willing and able to do so,” Roque said in a statement.

He said the hugely popular former Philippine leader is ready to “submit to the prosecution and judgment of any local court” and that he is willing “to face any of his accusers.”

“But the former chief executive would never subject himself under the legal jurisdiction of any foreign body because it is an insult to the competence and impartiality of our functioning criminal justice system,” said Roque, an international law expert.

“The resumption of the probe is a waste of time and resources. The ICC should focus instead on the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are actually happening in places like Ukraine and some African countries,” he added.

Roque, the first Asian admitted to practice before the ICC, expressed support for Duterte’s stance, adding that: “Our domestic courts are willing and able to carry out fair proceedings vis-à-vis cases related to the war on drugs campaign.”

The ICC has authorized prosecutor Karim Khan to reopen the investigation on possible rights abuses and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Duterte administration.

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