A South Asian Nation, Philippines has announced to withdraw its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Xinhua quoted the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte as saying Philippines will no longer be a member of ICC.
He announced early today that he has decided to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.
However, Philippines would not be the first nation to move out of the treaty, three countries namely South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have announced to withdrawal.
While the three countries had exceptional and specific reasons for rescinding membership of the court, their actions have sent jitters across the continent with analysts fearing that their move would inspire more withdrawals among countries that feel ostracised by what has been referred to as a biased court that is only keen in advancing the interests of Western regimes and trying people of colour.
This is further supported by the fact that of the ten cases the court is currently investigating, and the three under preliminary investigations, nine are from Africa.
Waning African support is cause for alarm, considering that out of the 124 signatories to the Rome Statute that created the court, 34 are from Africa, making the biggest regional membership.
While Burundi cited exercising its sovereign powers by pulling out of the court, it is believed the office of the prosecutor of the court’s decision to probe atrocities meted on civilians and human rights violation during last year’s political violence could have triggered its withdrawal.
South Africa, which has projected itself as a self- styled beacon of human rights in the continent, has caught the world by surprise with its intent to give up the court. It cited a conflict of the ICC’s Rome statutes with its domestic laws that grant leaders diplomatic immunity.
Its defiance was conspicuously displayed when it snubbed arresting Sudanese President Omar Bashir who has been charged with war crimes and genocide and has an arrest warrant out for him.
He would leave South Africa despite a local court ordering the government to exercise its fiduciary duty and hand him over to the ICC. South Africa then argued that its municipal laws give leaders immunity from prosecution.
Gambia’s decision to leave is perhaps the biggest blow and mockery to the court and the principle of upholding human rights.