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Duterte to order ICC prosecutor’s arrest if she sets foot in Manila

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Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a January 2017 briefing. — AFP

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Friday that he will order the arrest of Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), if she sets foot in the Philippines to conduct an investigation against him.

“You cannot exercise any proceedings here without [any] basis. That is illegal, and I will arrest you,” Mr. Duterte said.

The President made his remarks during a press conference at the Davao International Airport upon his arrival from his participation to the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, and working visit to Hong Kong.

The President said the ICC has no basis to proceed with the investigation of the complaint filed by the camp of opposition senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV alleging that he has committed “crimes against humanity” in his war on drugs.

“There is no basis at all because the Philippines was not ever, ever a member of that ICC for the reason that there was no publication [of the Rome Statute],” the President said.

In August 2011, the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute, which the President withdrew from in March this year.

He likewise said that he is not “afraid” of the ICC. “You can never call me to the International Criminal Court simply because your position is flawed. It cannot be corrected anymore, so stop your nonsense,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin