‘It’s illegal and I will arrest you’: Duterte threatens International Criminal Court prosecutor
Duterte argued the court had no right to conduct investigations as his country was no longer its member. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was confronted after her announcement to start a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Philippine lawyer who had accused Duterte of crimes against humanity.
Duterte challenged Bensouda and the ICC’s jurisdiction over him, telling reporters: “What is your [ICC] authority now? If we are not members of the treaty, why are you...in this country?” The tough talking leader vowed to arrest the ICC prosecutor if she did not withdraw: “You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you.”
Although his threats were aimed at the prosecutor, Duterte’s outrage is believed to have followed an alleged international effort to expose him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights.”
Perpetual remarks regarding alleged abuses during his war on drugs led to Duterte withdrawing his country from the ICC’s Rome Statute earlier this year. He accused the ICC and the UN of a crusade against him and vowed to continue his controversial crackdown on drugs.
Philippine police confirmed they have killed around 4,100 suspects in anti-drug operations which commenced in July 2016. The president has repeatedly justified his actions, claiming he would slaughter drug addicts and traffickers the same way Adolf Hitler massacred Jews.
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