MANILA, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has officially informed the United Nations of its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines said on Friday.
In a statement released by the DFA, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the withdrawal was formally conveyed in a verbal note that Philippine Permanent Representative handed over to Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at New York time on Thursday.
A picture released by DFA showed the Maria had received the note verbal.
In his statement explaining Manila's decision to pull out of the Rome Statute, Cayetano pointed to the well-orchestrated campaign to mislead the international community, to crucify President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippines by distorting the human rights situation in the country.
"Our decision to pull out of the Court is a principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights," Cayetano said in the statement.
Duterte announced the decision of the Philippines to the ICC on Wednesday after the body launched an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings related to Duterte's drug war.
However, Duterte said the ICC accusations are "baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks."
"There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the UN special rapporteurs to paint me as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings," Duterte said.
Cayetano said, "We are, however, confident that there is no crime or liability to speak of in the first place since our campaign against methamphetamines and other narcotics is a legitimate law enforcement operation designed to protect all Filipinos and uphold the rule of law."
Notwithstanding its withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the Philippine government affirms its commitment to fight against impunity for atrocity crimes and said it "remains resolute in effecting its principal responsibility to ensure the long-term safety of the nation in order to promote inclusive national development and secure a decent and dignified life for all."
The Rome Statute, adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998, is the treaty that established the Hague-headquartered ICC.
The Philippines signed the Rome Statute on Dec. 28, 2000, and ratified and endorsed it in August 2011.