Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the upcoming withdrawal of the country from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the presidential press service said Wednesday in a statement.
The ICC last month started a preliminary examination to establish whether crimes against humanity may have taken place during Duterte's deadly war on drugs, and whether the ICC had jurisdiction to take on the case.
Duterte said the Philippines would revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute "effective immediately".
Duterte bewailed that the worldwide court has been used as a "political tool against the Philippines", citing its baseless attempt to place him under its jurisdiction amid an inquiry into his war on illegal drugs.
However, the country has yet to file a formal notice to withdraw from the worldwide tribunal.
"It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines", Duterte said in a statement, adding the ICC examination was "unduly and maliciously created".
Two Filipino United Nations rapporteurs Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary have also accused the government of human rights abuses and killings, Duterte said. A complaint was filed with the ICC by a Philippine lawyer previous year.
Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings.
He noted that the deaths related to the drug war could not be considered crimes against humanity because these were a "direct result of a lawful exercise of a police duty".
Roque called the complainants "domestic enemies of the state" and said the ICC had no jurisdiction.
Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness.
But even as early as October 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers.
"Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute, and that there is clear bias on the part of the United Nations against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute", Duterte said in a statement, referring to the court's founding treaty.
Duterte, however, maintained that the ICC will never have jurisdiction "over [his] person", as global law "cannot supplant, prevail or diminish" a domestic law.