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5 days before PHL exit, SC takes no action on Int’l Criminal Court case

The Supreme Court did not decide on the petitions challenging the Philippines' exit from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, less than a week before the withdrawal takes effect.

The Court took no action on the case during its en banc session, two sources told GMA News Online.

By March 17, the Philippines will have effectively withdrawn its membership from the war crimes court, making it the second state party to leave the tribunal after Burundi in 2017.

Only national authorities may reverse a withdrawal, which in the case of the Philippines was a decision by President Rodrigo Duterte that opposition senators and a non-governmental organization allege was unconstitutional for lacking Senate approval.

The Duterte administration filed its notice of withdrawal before the United Nations Secretary General last year, shortly after the tribunal's prosecutor launched a preliminary examination of allegations of extrajudicial killings against the president in connection with the war on drugs.

Duterte insists the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.

According to the Rome Statute, the court's establishing treaty, a case is inadmissible when the state involved is investigating it, "unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution," among other grounds.

Established in 2002, the ICC has jurisdiction over persons accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.

The Senate ratified the Rome Statute in 2011, making the Philippines the 117th signatory to the ICC. — BM, GMA News