HomeNewsInternational tribunal finds US, Duterte, Marcos Jr. guilty of war crimes

International tribunal finds US, Duterte, Marcos Jr. guilty of war crimes

A two-day session of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in Brussels has concluded with the conviction of the United States, current Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and former President Rodrigo Duterte for severe war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law.

The tribunal, which operates as a quasi-judicial body, heard testimonies from 15 witnesses describing extensive human rights abuses perpetrated during the civil conflict in the Philippines. 

The allegations included extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

“The courage shown by the witnesses in bringing these brutal acts to light is a poignant reminder of the Filipino people’s ongoing struggle for their fundamental rights,” said Peter Murphy, Global Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), which endorsed the tribunal.

Victims recounted chilling first-hand accounts of abuse under both Duterte’s and Marcos Jr.’s administrations. 

Testimonies included those of Brandon Lee, an American activist left paralyzed after being shot by suspected state agents, and Ariel Casilao, who spoke of the brutal murder of peace consultant Randall Echanis in 2020.

The military’s targeted attacks on indigenous communities and the mischaracterization of public schools in Mindanao as “communist” hubs were highlighted. 

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Under Marcos Jr., alarming reports included forced disappearances and the use of civilians as propaganda tools in Bataan Province.

The U.S. was also heavily criticized for its role. Teddy Casino pointed out that, despite public critique of Duterte’s policies, the U.S. provided substantial military aid that facilitated the Philippine military’s counterinsurgency efforts, which included egregious human rights abuses.

“The evidence presented here clearly shows a systematic disregard for civilian life and international law,” said Marjorie Cohn, a law professor and expert witness on international law, who testified about the U.S. government’s complicity in the abuses.

After deliberations, the IPT found all accused parties guilty, marking a significant pronouncement against the ongoing violations of international humanitarian norms.

The ICHRP has called for an immediate international response and announced a week of global action from May 21-27 to support the Filipino people and denounce the U.S.-backed military campaign in the Philippines.

The ruling is not enforceable in the same manner as those made by official judicial bodies. However, it sends a symbolic message about the international community’s intolerance for war crimes and human rights violations.

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