ICC, PH talks on exit depends on PRRD: Cayetano

MANILAForeign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said dialogue calls from the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as visit of its officials to engage with the Philippine government on its decision to exit from the Rome Statute, will depend on President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

In a press conference, Cayetano said the agency is aware of an ICC official's expression of willingness to sit down and discuss the pull out.

Cayetano revealed there are more than one ICC official aside from OGon Kwon, president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, who on Monday said, he is willing to fly to Manila to engage in dialogue and have an open debate with any relevant authorities from the government.

"I've heard about it, it's not only one, (but) I don't think the timing is right," Cayetano said.

"I talked to our ambassador, he said as the second highest diplomat in the country, we will keep an open mind but in the end it's the president's decision."

Cayetano said the President will "always listen" but if a supposed discussion is predictable, or that the chief executive already knows what questions will be asked, what to response, "he'd rather attend to more pressing issues."

Cayetano acknowledged that the dialogue is to convince the country to come back, but underscored the decision to withdraw from the treaty goes beyond ICC, whose prosecutor had earned the President's ire, which prompted the pull out.

"The whole human rights mechanism that was supposed to be there to assist the government, assist the people, assist the government to fulfill its human rights obligations, it's now a name and shame," he said.

The secretary claimed that issue of human rights are now used as tool in politics, business, and "unwittingly even by nongovernment organizations used by the drug lords."

"That is the reality," he said.

On Tuesday, the ICC announced it was officially notified by the United Nations that the Philippines had deposited a written notification of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the Court's founding treaty, with the United Nations SecretaryGeneral as the depositary of the Statute.

In its statement, the Court said it "regrets" this development and encouraged the Philippines to remain part of the ICC family.

Withdrawing from the Rome Statute is a sovereign decision, which is subject to the provisions of article 127 of the statute.

A withdrawal becomes effective one year after the deposit of notice of withdrawal to the United Nations SecretaryGeneral.

Source: Philippine News Agency