Duterte confident he cannot be prosecuted since treaty not published in Official Gazette

Published March 22, 2018, 4:28 PM

by AJ Siytangco


By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is confident that he could not face prosecution abroad since the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has not become “part of the law of the land.”

The President argued that he has not been charged for the anti-drug campaign in the country, much less could he be prosecuted abroad due to the lack of publication of the Rome Statute.

President Rodrigo Duterte

The treaty, ratified in 2011, has not taken effect in the country because it was not published on the state publication Official Gazette, as required by local laws, Duterte added.

“If you cannot prosecute me locally, how can you prosecute me internationally? Simple lang ‘yan eh [It’s that simple]” Duterte said before an assembly of supporters in Pasay City last Wednesday night.

“Kung hindi mo ako mademanda [If you have not prosecuted me] locally because you never published the law, how can you bind me internationally? Hindi ako pwedeng makulong dito pero sa labas, bira-birahin mo ako ng batas [I cannot be jailed here but abroad, you will prosecute me for a law] because the treaties when ratified shall form part of the law of the land,” he added.

Duterte branded lawyers insisting the Rome Statute could be enforced in the country without the publication on the Gazette as “stupid.”

He noted that the country requires laws to be published on the Gazette before they could take effect so the public are placed “on constructive notice.”

But with the Rome Statute’s lack of publication in the country, Duterte maintained that ICC could never acquire jurisdiction over his person.

“Dito sa kaso ko, ang due process will apply sa publication. ‘Pag walang publication tatamaan ka dito, ‘denial of due process [In my case, due process will apply in the publication. If there is no publication, you will be accused of denial of due process],'” he said.

“For those stupid lawyers who said, ‘it will apply even without the publication’ Saan ka ba nag-graduate? Por Dios naman [Where did you graduate? my goodness],” he said.

The President earlier announced the country’s withdrawal from the ICC, weeks after the tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes committed in the drug crackdown.

Duterte has complained about the “baseless” and “outrageous” attacks against him by some United Nations officials, as well as the violation of due process and presumption of innocence by the ICC.

The Hague-based tribunal recently declared that ongoing inquiry on the war on drugs would continue despite the country’s pullout, which it claimed will take effect a year after the UN Secretary General’s receipt of the notice.