Tribunal finds U.S. and Philippine leaders guilty of war crimes

Following a hearing on May 17-18, the International People’s Tribunal on War Crimes in the Philippines found Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., former President Rodrigo Duterte, and U.S. President Joe Biden guilty of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law against the Filipino people.

The tribunal, convened in Brussels by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle, included jurors such as Lennox Hinds, Emeritus Professor of Law at Rutgers University and former legal counsel for Nelson Mandela; Suzanne Adely, President of the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.); Severine De Laveleye, member of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium; Julen Arzuaga Gumuzio, member of the Basque Parliament; and Archbishop Joris Vercammen, former member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. 

They heard testimonies from 15 witnesses detailing extensive human rights abuses, including torture, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and attacks on Indigenous communities defending their ancestral lands from corporate plunder.

The tribunal concluded that the defendants committed numerous war crimes, including willful killing, forced displacement, torture, and harassment. They emphasized the violent repression by the Philippine government, supported by the U.S., against the Filipino people.

Julie de Lima, chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel, highlighted the disciplined nature of the New People’s Army (NPA) in its fight for Philippine national liberation and self-determination and its adherence to international humanitarian law, reports Marjorie Cohn in Truthout. The tribunal also found that the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency operations led to numerous civilian deaths and other human rights violations.

Witnesses described several specific cases of atrocities committed by the Philippine military and police, including the killing of activists, Indigenous leaders, and a member of the NPA. The jurors determined that the Philippine armed forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and forced the displacement of over 500,000 people.

The tribunal found that the U.S. government is complicit in these human rights violations by providing substantial military aid, training, and support to the Philippine government, a “puppet government of the United States.” 

De Lima said that the U.S. is using the Philippines as a pawn in its strategy to maintain hegemony in the region, designating the Philippines a major non-NATO ally, a “partner” in its New Cold War aimed at “containing” China.

Join the Struggle-La Lucha Telegram channel