A MARAWI “sultan” would be among those to testify before the International Peoples’ Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium, as part of another effort to bring President Duterte to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The testimonies are set to be heard for two days starting today, according to the human rights watchdog Karapatan in a statement.
“Sultan” Hamidullah Atar of Marawi City would be testifying about the alleged human rights violations committed during the Marawi siege last year and under the Mindanao martial law, said Suara Bangsamoro chairperson Jerome Succor Aba.
Aba said his group would also bring up the alleged massacre of seven Tausugs in Patikul, Sulu, on Friday. Military forces were allegedly behind the massacre.
Various local organizations led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Karapatan would raise a total of 21 cases or incidents in the International Peoples’ Tribunal.
Karapatan said the cases can fall into these categories: violations on economic, social and cultural rights, violations on civil and political rights, and violations on the right to self-determination.
The International Peoples’ Tribunal is a “global court” convened by the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Ibon International, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
It is composed of leading public figures of recognized achievements and high moral stature who would then come up with a “verdict” based on a thorough and fair assessment of the evidence, and in line with the applicable legal standards. The “verdict” would then be submitted to the International Criminal Court, the European Parliament, and the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Its findings would be submitted on Sept. 21, incidentally, the anniversary of the Marcos martial law.
“Although Duterte already withdrew from the Rome Statute creating the ICC, it will take a year upon the receipt of the notice of withdrawal according to Article 127 of the ICC. This rule was made specifically for dictators like Duterte to withdraw while complaints are filed against them,” Aba said.
Teodoro Casiño of Bayan said the killings, state violence, other crimes and the impunity compelled them to file more cases against the Duterte administration.
“The judicial system itself is under attack in the Philippines. Hence, an impartial tribunal recognized internationally can serve as moral suasion to stop the attacks and make the regime accountable for its crimes,” Casiño said.