Promulgation of the guilty verdict of the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) on Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III and the US government for crimes against the Filipino people. The verdict was read by Atty. Josalee Deinla of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) at the July 20, 2015 forum before mass organizations marched towards Malacanang Palace in Mendiola, Manila.
A few weeks before BS Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA), the International People’s Tribunal held in Washington, DC, found the Aquino regime guilty of violations of the Filipino people’s Civil and Political Rights, Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights; and Right to Self-Determination. The same guilty verdict was handed down to the US government, which is “equally liable with Defendant Aquino for these gross human rights violations.”
“We welcome the guilty verdict by the IPT especially in the light of BS Aquino’s scheduled SONA, which we expect as his last ditch effort to cover-up his crimes against the Filipino people with his usual lies,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.
Karapatan was among the complainants, which filed cases of violations of civil and political rights. Other complainants were the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hustisya, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Selda, Desaparecidos, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Migrante, Kadamay, Gabriela, Kalikasan, Bayan Muna. Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez testified at the IPT as the expert witness on the overall human rights situation in Philippines.
The prosecution presented 34 cases of rights violations through 32 witnesses, 17 of whom went to Washington, DC; while 10 who remained in Manila were presented through live internet stream.
The tribunal’s jurors, headed by prominent US human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, concluded that the “evidence complied with the evidentiary requirements, and that these evidences clearly established the factual basis of the Indictment, and the culpability of respondents Defendant Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Defendant Government of the United States of America.”
“The Defendants, in concert with each other, willfully and feloniously committed gross and systematic violations of Filipino people’s basic human rights,” said the Tribunal.
Other jurors in the tribunal were Rev. Dr. Molefe Tsele, a former South African ambassador, Mary Boyd, Atty. Camilo Perez-Bustillo, Pao-Yu Ching, Rev. Malcolm Damon, and Rev. Michael Yoshii.
The tribunal said the cases of rights violations “are not random violations” but constitute a clear pattern, especially in the context of the government’s implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, which is “implemented with the assistance of the Defendant Government of the U.S.”
Copies of the Verdict is set to be delivered at the White House and the US State Department by rights and peace groups in the US; and in Malacañang through a rally led by Bayan and Karapatan.
Political prisoners’ pre-SONA activity
To culminate today’s rally at Mendiola, relatives and friends of political prisoners led the demonstrators in singing “Bayan Ko”, in solidarity with the political prisoners who will do the same inside jails at 12:00 noon. The singing of “Bayan Ko” by political prisoners in various jails nationwide kicks-off their week long activity leading to BS Aquino’s SONA. On July 27, political prisoners will lead discussions in detention centers as alternative to Aquino’s SONA.
July 19, 2015
The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) hails the conclusion of the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT 2015) in Washington, D.C. as it finds the US and Aquino governments guilty beyond doubt of rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The 32 witnesses and several experts braved all odds amid the intensifying crisis and political repression in the Philippines to testify on record before the tribunal.
The wealth of data, information, facts, analyses and other evidence clearly established the factual basis of the indictment, and the culpability of respondents Defendant Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Defendant Government of the United States of America.
We laud the panel of international jurors, prosecutors and staff of the tribunal as well as the militant and progressive peoples of the world who showed solidarity with the Filipino people in the fight for righteousness, justice and freedom.
The blood of our martyrs and victims of rights violations in the Philippines are not lost with the resounding success of the tribunal.
The guilty verdict on Pres. Aquino and the US government goes into the annals of the historic fight of the Filipino people against US imperialism and local reaction.
We are one with the IPT 2015 in calling “to seek redress, to pursue justice, and to transform this oppressive, exploitative and repressive global state of affairs exemplified by the experience and plight of the Filipino people, to challenge the international “rule of law”, and to construct a global order founded on full respect for the rights of all peoples, everywhere.”
We intend to pursue cases of rights abuses and violations as copies of the verdict reach the Prosecutor´s Office of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Inter-American, European, African, and Asian regional courts or systems, as well as lawyers associations, human rights defenders, law schools, and human rights programs of study throughout the world.
A significant stride has been made with IPT 2015 as we march forward ever more resolutely to punish the perpetrators, render justice for the victims and end impunity in the country.###