[Brussels, 19 September] “The International Peoples’ Tribunal is a genuine process of uncovering the culpability of the Duterte administration in the gross violation of the rights of the Filipino people. It is a Tribunal genuinely called to existence by the people suffering from the brutality of the Duterte administration. And it is a Tribunal that shall genuinely render a fair and objective verdict.”
Peter Murphy, spokesperson of the International Peoples’ Tribunal and Global Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, made the clarification on the heels of the Duterte administration’s dismissal of the Tribunal as simply “a propaganda proceeding of the Left.”
Asked by reporters about testimonies of human rights victims at the IPT, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the IPT is “a sham proceeding… for propaganda purposes.”
“The IPT is not a sham,” Murphy explains, “because the cases being heard are very real, the jurors are eminent individuals, the prosecutors are professional human rights lawyers, and the defandants have been given the right to make a defence agaisnt the charges.
“The witnesses we heard yesterday talked about the mass murder of more than 20,000 people as a result of the so-called war on illegal drugs of the Duterte administration, the more than 500 people detained on trumped up charges, like Senator Leila de Lima, and the assassination of political opponents of the Duterte administration, among so many evidence presented,” he said.
The International Peoples’ Tribunal 2018 opened yesterday in Brussels, Belgium with witnesses testifying on charges of Gross and Systematic Violations of Civil and Political Rights; and Gross and Systematic Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
On its second day, the Jury will hear witnesses and evidence for the charge of Violations of the Rights of the People to National Self-Determination and Development, and Violations of International Humanitarian Law. The Jury is expected to deliver its verdict at 6:00pm of today.
“The Duterte administration must heed the genuine calls for justice of the Filipino people,” Murphy stressed.
“Regardless of Mr. Roque’s dismissals, the IPT2018 serves notice that gross violations of the people´s rights and impunity shall not go unchallenged by the people and the international community,” Murphy concluded.