Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his government committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, aided and abetted by US President Donald Trump and his administration, according to a recent ruling from the International Peoples’ Tribunal on the Philippines.
The tribunal, which was held in Brussels, Belgium, on September 18 and 19, 2018, rendered its 84-page decision on these crimes on March 8. Conveners of the tribunal included the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, IBON International, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. A panel of eight jurors from Egypt, France, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands and the United States heard testimony from 31 witnesses, including me.
These jurors ordered the defendants to make reparations; to provide compensation or indemnification, restitution and rehabilitation; and to be subjected to possible prosecution and sanctions for their crimes. Although the tribunal does not have the power to enforce those measures, its findings of facts and conclusions of law could be used to bolster the preliminary examination of crimes by the Duterte regime currently pending in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“The Tribunal has finally rendered its historical and comprehensive decision,” Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in the Philippines, who also served as clerk of the tribunal, told Truthout in an email. “It is extensive in its presentation of the facts and evidence” and contains “an incisive elaboration of the nexus between the acts and omissions of Defendants and their accountability under a plethora of international instruments.”
Olalia added that the decision “sends out a message loud and clear: a people continually victimized by authoritarian and repressive…