Monday, September 17, 2018

Marawi 'Sultan' to testify against Duterte before International Tribunal





Composite photo of President Rodrigo Duterte (from Inquirer) and Sultan Hamidullah Atar (from Google)

Manila, Philippines - Sultan Hamidullah Atar of Marawi City was reportedly to testify against President Rodrigo Duterte administration before the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT2018), says human rights group Karapatan, on Monday.

Atar will testify on September 18-19 at the IPT2018 in Brussels, Belgium about the alleged human rights violation committed by President Duterte’s regime.


The IPT2018 is a global court assembled by the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights along with Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, IBON International, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

According to Karapatan, Atar will testify that the president committed human rights violations during the Marawi City siege and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Suara Bangasamoro Chairperson Jerome Succor Aba, on the other hand, is set to testify on April 17 to 19 over  the charges against religious discrimination arbitrary detention, and torture committed against him by agents of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Karapatan added.

Other local organizations like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Karapatan will raise a total of 21 cases or violation occurrence in the IPT2018.

“These 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 human rights group added.

Once completed, Karapatan group will use the verdict of IPT2018 to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the European Parliament, and the United Nations Human Rights Council as a case against to what they call US-Duterte regime.  *

Meanwhile, according to another source (mindanaogoldstardaily.com), IPT2018 findings would be submitted on September 21, as it marks the anniversary of former President Ferdinand 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 cited the kiIlings, 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.


Graffiti on a wall of a back-alley in Marawi City, June 12, 2017 / Photo by Reuters