Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. © Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
Controversial Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte has branded as “bullsh*t” Western threats to indict him in the International Criminal Court (ICC) over extrajudicial killings in the country’s war on drugs. He added that European lawyers have “brains like a pea.”
In October, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the court may have jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for killings in the Philippines, adding that her office was looking for instances of state officials “ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing” to crimes against humanity.
During a speech on Monday, Duterte shared his thoughts on his possible international prosecution, typically not mincing his words.
“You scare me that you will jail me? International Criminal Court? Bulls**t,” he said, as cited by Reuters.
According to the Philippines president, Washington is behind the attempt to put him behind bars.
“America itself is threatening to jail me in the International Criminal Court. It is not a signatory of that body. Why? Because at that time, they were afraid [former President George W.] Bush would face it,"he said.
Unlike Manila, Washington never signed the Rome Statute and isn’t part of the Hague-based ICC.
The US and its allies have no idea how grave the problem with the trade and use of methamphetamines was in the Philippines, Duterte said. Dealing with the issue was so important that he was ready to “rot in jail” in order to achieve his goal, he added.
The Philippines leader also said he saw nothing wrong with threatening to kill bad elements of society, especially when it’s done to protect the country.
"I will never allow my country to be thrown to the dogs. I said when I was a mayor, 'If you destroy my city with drugs, I will kill you,’” he added.
"Simple as that... When was it a crime to say, 'I will kill you,' in protecting my country?" Duterte said.
According to Philippines police figures, 2,500 people have been killed since Duterte became president on June 30 and launched his crackdown on the drugs trade. Around 1,900 people were slain in anti-drug operations by security forces, while the rest are believed to be victims of vigilantes and fighting between criminal gangs.
Earlier in November, Duterte slammed the ICC, calling it useless and hinting that the Philippines may follow Russia’s example and withdraw from it. Duterte has made a name for himself thanks to his scathing remarks about the US, which used to be the Philippines top ally under his predecessor.
Duterte called outgoing US President Barack Obama “a son of a whore” and told him to “go to hell” for his perceived attempts to lecture the Philippines. He announced the cancelation of military exercises between the Philippines and American forces, but softened his stance shortly afterwards.
However, the Philippines leader welcomed Donald Trump’s election win, saying there were a lot of similarities between him and the US president-elect.
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