International tribunal to hear HRV cases in PH

Mar. 13, 2015

An international tribunal was launched Thursday in Quezon City to try cases of human rights violations under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan and one of the complainants to the tribunal, said the International People’s Tribunal would focus on alleged human rights violations in the Philippines and to hold Pres. Aquino and the government of the United States accountable before the international community.

The tribunal would also probe into the role of the increasing US military presence and intervention in Philippine affairs.

Vanessa Lucas, one of the conveners of the tribunal and a member of US-based National Lawyers Guild, said “the Mamasapano operation raises questions over the extent of the US military involvement in Philippine domestic security. Meanwhile, the Philippine government’s failure to assert jurisdiction over US marine officer Joseph Scott Pemberton for the murder of Jennifer Laude highlights how unequal ties between the US and the Philippines invite impunity”.

Reverend Canon Barry Naylor, chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines and also a convener of the tribunal, said the tribunal is not judicially non-binding but it “is symbolic and significant”.

The tribunal has scheduled to gather on July 16-18 in Washington DC, a distinguished panel of jurors that would include former US congresswoman and peace advocate Cynthia McKinney to hear live testimonies of witnesses from the Philippines.

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