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Many police have complied; since Duterte took office in June 2016, an estimated 12,000 officially sanctioned drug-related murders have been documented.But after nearly two years of perfecting his strongman persona, Duterte is now acting vulnerable. In a rambling 15-page rebuttal to the ICC, Duterte presented a defense based more on fiction than fact. No less dubiously, Duterte claimed that the ICC's investigation was yet another example of a "systematic assault by the United Nations" against his country; as "evidence," he cited an ongoing inquiry launched by Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings. Finally, Duterte suggested that the ICC had not met the requirement of "complementarity," which stipulates that the court has jurisdiction only when a state is unwilling or unable to prosecute.Duterte capped off his response to the ICC by offering one more insult: a pledge to withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute. Duterte has rarely lost a verbal fight.
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