People’s organizations have announced yet another effort to hold President Duterte accountable for human rights violations before an international panel of lawyers.
Groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Karapatan said an “indictment” against Mr. Duterte—“in collaboration” with US President Donald Trump—would be presented on Tuesday and Wednesday to the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) in Brussels, Belgium.
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The IPT is composed of international human rights lawyers acting as jurors.
The tribunal would look into the testimonies of 31 witnesses who would attest to the allegations in the indictment.
Sultan Hamidullah Atar, one of the traditional leaders in Marawi City, will also ask the tribunal on Sept. 18 to prosecute Mr. Duterte for his alleged crimes against Muslims in Mindanao.
“He [Duterte] violated the civil and political [and basic human] rights of my fellow Muslims during and after the Marawi siege,” Atar told the Inquirer on Sunday night.
Suara Bangsamoro chair Jerome Succor Aba will also testify on the charges of religious discrimination, arbitrary detention and torture he had filed against agents of the US Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection.
IPT findings, verdict
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, at a press briefing on Monday, said the IPT’s findings and verdict would be submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday.
The submission date coincides with the 46th anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law declaration.
Casiño said the IPT’s verdict would “influence international opinion” and its findings would “complement” the inquiries of other international bodies in an effort to hold Mr. Duterte “accountable for crimes.”
Mindanao martial law
The indictment against Mr. Duterte cited violations of civil and political rights through extrajudicial killings, massacres, arbitrary arrests, torture, political persecution and rights violations arising from the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
The other complainants include Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Gabriela, Anakbayan, Migrante, Kadamay, Sandugo and Selda.
Jude Josue Sabio, the lawyer of confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato, filed the first case against Mr. Duterte in the ICC in the Hague on April 2017.
Matobato accused Mr. Duterte and 11 government officials of crimes against humanity for the deaths of thousands of people in his administration’s brutal war on drugs.
In June 2017, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano asked the ICC to investigate Mr. Duterte for his bloody antinarcotics war.
The Trillanes-Alejano complaint also accused 11 police officials of complicity in what they claimed was state-sponsored killing of drug suspects.
On March 14, Mr. Duterte announced that he was pulling the Philippines out of the ICC. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH
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