IPT finds US, Duterte, and Marcos Jr guilty of war crimes

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

The International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) ruled on May 18 that the Duterte and Marcos Jr regimes, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), and the US represented by Joseph Biden, are guilty of violating the human rights of Filipinos, and international humanitarian law.

The IPT is an international court composed of legal experts that conducts investigations into violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in different countries. It was established in 1979 and has conducted 46 sessions, including six on the Philippines.

Séverine de Laveleye, member of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium, and one of the jurors of this year’s IPT, said their hearings determined that systematic violations of human rights of people critical of the government has persisted from the previous Duterte regime to the current Marcos regime, with support from the US.

Evidence include recorded cases of surveillance, intimidation, abduction and forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and massacre of civilian critics of the government all committed by the Armed Forcers of the Philippines (AFP) under the counterinsurgency program of the two regimes.

Some outstanding cases heard were the AFP massacre of civilians, including the Fausto family in Negros, the Tumandok people in Panay, and the volunteer teachers of Lumad schools in Mindanao.

These also include the aerial bombings of communities that the military linked to the New People’s Army (NPA). Record by Karapatan show 378,203 victims of human rights violations are related to the bombings under the Duterte regime, while 22,391 were under the Marcos regime.

The tribunal also heard cases of the military’s inhumane treatment of NPA members. The hearing finds that the military continues to extrajudicially kill NPA fighters who are hors d’combat or incapable of fighting. Also documented were cases of military desecration of the remains of slain revolutionary fighters.

“The number and frequency of these cases show that this practice is part of the GRP’s policy,” the judges added.

In this regard, the IPT also emphasized US support in the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program, which they said is patterned after US strategy.

It can be recalled that one of the Balikatan exercises’ objectives is to strengthen the GRP’s capability in counterinsurgency. In addition, the US allocated up to $1.14 billion worth of military equipment to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, human rights groups in the Philippines agreed with the IPT verdict.

“Local mechanisms have failed to address the victim’s search for justice here in the Philippines, so the International People’s Tribunal is a huge arena and opportunity for the victims to present their cases of human rights violations perpetrated by the Duterte and Marcos Jr. administration,” Atty. Sol Taule, lawyer of Karapatan, said in a press conference.

Human rights groups plan to disseminate the IPT’s verdict to communities and other organizations, and present it to congress, as part of their action to hold those involved in human rights violations under the two regimes accountable.

“When we take the verdict of the IPT to the communities, we will explain to our people the need for continuous education and action for the protection and promotion of our rights,” said Raymond Palatino, general secretary of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

IPT finds US, Duterte, and Marcos Jr guilty of war crimes