Petitions vs. ICC exit not tackled in SC days before it takes effect – source

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President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the country out of the ICC in March 2018 after the international court announced a preliminary examination on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 12) — The Supreme Court did not tackle petitions against the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) days before it takes effect, a source from the high court told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the last full court session day to rule on the ICC withdrawal before it takes effect on March 17.

There are two petitions questioning the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty forming the ICC. Six senators -- the Liberal Party's Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, and Leila de Lima, Akbayan Party's Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes of the Nacionalista Party -- filed the petition on May 16.

Another petitioner, the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, also filed a petition against President Rodrigo Duterte's unilateral withdrawal from the treaty.

But even if the withdrawal takes effect on March 17, the SC source said this doesn't mean the petitions are moot.

"Not moot because if Senate concurrence is required then withdrawal is ineffective," the source added.

On March 17, 2018, Duterte pulled the country out of the ICC after the international court announced a preliminary examination on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country. The preliminary examination will determine whether there is cause to go on a full-blown investigation.

Lawyer Jude Sabio's communication against Duterte filed before the ICC prompted the examination.

Duterte has repeatedly said he will not submit to ICC jurisdiction and even threatened its prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, that she will be arrested if she continues with proceedings without basis.

Malacañang had argued that the treaty was not published in the Official Gazette, the government's website. The Palace said this meant that the statute did not take effect.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Rome Statute in 2000. The country ratified the statute in 2011 and became its 117th State Party.