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Duterte hits UN rights chief Zeid: He's not familiar with democratic law

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday slammed United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, who recently suggested that the firebrand leader needed a psychiatric examination.

Addressing a gathering of municipal officials at the Manila Hotel, Duterte blasted Zeid's background as a person coming from a country which he said did not have a democratic mandate.

Zeid is a prince of Jordan which is under a constitutional monarchy.

"Just like the Commission and the prince that heads it. I don't want to insult him dahil meron tayong ongoing negotiations. He is not even an accountable officer. He's in a monarchical state. What do you think would be in his mind?" Duterte said.

"Ito ‘yung mga prince, ito ‘yung mga people who are not elected and who are not familiar with the democratic rules."

Malacañang has said UN officials "cannot deal with elected leaders of member nations" in a manner that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid did, whose statement came after the Department of Justice filed a petition in court that accuses a Filipina special rapporteur of terrorism and alleged membership in the communist guerilla movement.

The President, in the same speech, criticized Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor who launched a preliminary examination on the killings linked to his war on drugs.

Duterte questioned Bensouda's qualifications, noting her expertise is on maritime law.

Bensouda holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea and is said to be the first international maritime law expert of her native country, Gambia, which once attempted to leave the ICC.

In withdrawing from the ICC, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration and the alleged attempt of the ICC prosecutor to place him under the tribunal’s jurisdiction amid accusations of state sanctioned killings being linked to his war on drugs.

Duterte also said that the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, is not enforceable in the Philippines because it was not published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

"If you fail to do that, there is no law at all because then you cannot claim that ignorance of the law excuses no one," he said.

"So when are you excused because of your ignorance? It is when it is published in the Official Gazette, that you are now put on notice constructively. Kasi we cannot do it every person na assuming may batas ito. So by publishing it in the Official Gazette, it now becomes a law."

Law experts have dismissed Duterte's claim about the necessity of publication.

The President's critics said he can still be held liable for offenses committed while the Philippines was signatory to the ICC as actual withdrawal from the the court comes a year after notification. —JST, GMA News