Duterte says may follow Russia, leave The Hague

Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 10:42 IST | Agencies

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said he might follow Russia and withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), citing criticism from Western nations for a rash of killings unleashed by his war on drugs

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Manila: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said he might follow Russia and withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), citing criticism from Western nations for a rash of killings unleashed by his war on drugs.

Duterte described the ICC as “useless” and expressed frustration about the West’s allegations of extrajudicial killings and its failure to understand his crackdown on narcotics. He also appeared to blame the United Nations for failing to prevent wars all over the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order removing Russia’s signature from the founding treaty of the ICC on Wednesday, and Duterte said he might consider doing the same.

“They are useless, those in the international criminal (court). They (Russia) withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered,” Duterte said before his departure for Lima to attend an Asia-Pacific summit.

Duterte is seeking a meeting with Putin in Lima this weekend, which comes as he pursues an independent foreign policy aimed at weaning the Philippines off dependence on longtime ally, the United States. He has frequently praised Russia and China.

Duterte, known for his frank statements, speculated that Russia’s ICC move might be because of its air strikes in Syria. “What could be the reason? I really would not know,” he said. “Maybe to protect what they are doing in Syria, the incessant bombing and the killing of civilians.”

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