MANILAThe Russian Federation "respects" President Rodrigo R. Duterte's decision to withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC), Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said on Tuesday.
"We fully understand his concern, we fully understand the reasons which became the basis for taking such a decision," he said during a press conference at his residence in Makati.
Russia had earlier signed the Rome Statute but has never ratified due to the court's "highly politicized" activities and possibility that it may be used as an "instrument" to pressure its member states, the envoy stressed.
"In our assessment, the ICC is not a judicial board," he pointed out.
"All its activities are highly politicized and it's used as an instrument to put political pressure on selective governments, on selective countries so we cannot accept such an approach that's why my country decided to withdraw from their Rome Statute," he said.
Khovaev said Russia "fully understands" why Manila plans to thread the same direction.
"I fully understand why your country took the same decision, but as I have just explained, it's up to the Philippine society to make comments, to make assessment of this step, of this decision, as for us, we deeply respect it."
The Philippines has begun processing its withdrawal from the international court when it officially served notice to the United Nations that it has decided to opt out of the Rome Statute.
The decision was conveyed in a note verbale that Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr. handed over to Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at 6:07 p.m. New York time Thursday or 6:07 a.m. Manila time Friday.
With the delivery of the notice, the countdown for the oneyear withdrawal period from the ICC officially began on March 15, 2018. (JLR/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency