MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dared the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday to jail him or hang him over alleged extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs, but said he would refuse to cooperate with foreigners if put on trial.
His remarks were the latest vows of defiance against the court in The Hague that has yet to decide whether to investigate him over thousands of deaths in his crackdown, during which activists say crimes against humanity were committed.
“You do not scare me that you will jail me in the International Criminal Court. I will never allow myself to answer these whites,” Duterte said in a speech to military cadets and reservists.
“I will never, never, never answer any question coming from you. It’s bullshit to me. I am only responsible to the Filipino. Filipinos will judge.”
“He added: “And if you hang me for all what I did, go ahead. It will be my pleasure.”
Duterte has also blasted the United Nations after its human rights body approved a resolution in July to investigate alleged abuses in the Philippines.
The maverick former mayor has repeatedly taunted the ICC and threatened to slap or arrest its prosecutor, who in February 2018 announced a preliminary examination was being conducted into the drugs killings.
Duterte, 74, responded by unilaterally cancelling his country’s membership of the court a month later, without legislative approval, saying it had deprived him of a presumption of innocence. Amnesty International called his move “misguided” and “cowardly”.
The ICC’s prosecutor says jurisdiction applies to crimes committed while a country is a member.
In a scheduled Dec. 5 report on its activities worldwide, the ICC said it had “significantly advanced” its examination and aimed to finalize it in 2020, then decide whether to seek a formal investigation.
Human rights groups say Duterte’s anti-drugs crackdown had led to systematic executions and police cover-ups. Police reject that and say the nearly 7,000 people they have killed were armed drug suspects who resisted arrest.
Reporting by Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alex Richardson