Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had a colorful response to suggestions that he might be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court for extrajudicial killings: “You scare me that you will jail me? International Criminal Court? Bulls**t!”
“America itself is threatening to jail me in the International Criminal Court,” Duterte continued. “It is not a signatory of that body. Why? Because at that time, they were afraid Bush would face it.” He added that he is considering withdrawing the Philippines from the ICC, as Russia has already done.
Spreading his ire across the Western world, Duterte proceeded to dismiss European lawyers as “rotten” and “stupid,” with “brains like a pea.”
On previous occasions, Duterte has responded to criticism of his drug war policies by calling U.S. President Barack Obama a “son of a whore” and screaming “F**k you!” at the European Parliament, accompanied by a universally understood gesture with the same meaning.
Reuters cites U.S. State Department John Kirby saying that he was aware of no such threat to prosecute Duterte. Russia’s RT.com suggests he was responding to comments made in October by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who describe the 2,500 police killings in Duterte’s narcotics crackdown as potential crimes against humanity.
Duterte argued that Western nations are underestimating the severity of the methamphetamine epidemic in the Philippines and also noted that he promised as the mayor of Davao, “If you destroy my city with drugs, I will kill you.”
“When was it a crime to say ‘I will kill you’ in protecting my country?” he asked on Monday, asking one of those questions that critics never know where to begin answering.
Duterte topped this off by threatening the lives of human-rights activists, as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer: “The human rights (defenders) said I ordered the killings. I told them ‘OK. Let’s stop. We’ll let them (drug users) multiply so that when it’s harvest time, more people will die. I will include you because you are the reason why their numbers swell.'”