Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to follow in Russia’s footsteps Thursday and withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), incensed at criticism from Western nations of his deadly drug war.
Russia formally withdrew its signature to the ICC’s founding Rome Statute on Wednesday, calling the tribunal’s work “one-sided and inefficient”.
Speaking in his home town of Davao city in the southern Philippines shortly before flying to Peru for a regional summit, Duterte said: “They (Russians) may have thought the ICC is (useless), so they withdrew their membership.”
The Philippines President expressed frustration about the West’s allegations of extrajudicial killings and its failure to understand his crackdown on narcotics. He also appeared to blame the United Nations for failing to prevent wars all over the world.
“I might follow. Why? Because these shameless bullies only picked on small countries like us.”
The world body has failed to stop wars that had killed “thousands” of women and children, he said.
The Philippines became a member of the ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes court, in 2011.
“You know if China and Russia would decide to create a new order, I will be the first to join,” Duterte added.
Duterte won May elections in a landslide after vowing an unprecedented crackdown on illegal drugs and killing tens of thousands of drug dealers.
More than 4,000 people have been killed since he took office on June 30. About 1,800 were shot dead by police and about 2,600 others were murdered by unidentified attackers, according to official statistics.
The killings have drawn criticism from Manila’s key defense ally the United States as well as the U.N.
Duterte has struck back by calling U.S. President Barack Obama a “son of a whore” and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon a “fool”.
Last month the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was “deeply concerned” about thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, warning that those responsible could face prosecution.
Duterte has challenged Ban and international human rights experts to visit the country and investigate the allegations, while insisting his government has done nothing illegal.
On Thursday, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Duterte warned his international counterparts, including Obama, not to lecture him on human rights.
“They will really get it from me, and I will lecture them on the finer points of civilisation,” he said.
“You threaten us as if we are your laborers and threaten to have me jailed. Me, go to jail? You children of whores I will take you all down with me.”