Duterte ‘trial’ in Belgium over rights abuses just ‘propaganda’ – Palace
“That’s a propaganda proceeding.”
This was Malacañang’s response on Tuesday amid a reported move to hold President Rodrigo Duterte accountable for the alleged human rights violations before an international panel of lawyers.
The complaint, according to several groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Karapatan, would be presented before the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Karapatan noted that Sultan Hamidullah Atar of Marawi City would testify against the Duterte administration before the IPT, which is composed of international human rights lawyers acting as jurors.
“That’s not an official proceeding. That’s a propaganda proceeding,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in Palace briefing.
“I don’t even know who’s that Sultan is… I was a Ninong in a royal wedding recently and I think I met all the Royal families, so to speak, although the Constitution prohibits the grant of nobility so, I don’t know who he is. That’s a sham proceeding, that is not an official proceeding, that’s for propaganda purposes,” he added.
According to Karapatan, Atar would testify about human rights violations allegedly committed by the Duterte administration to the Maranaws during the Marawi City siege, and the declaration placing the whole of Mindanao under martial rule.
The indictment against Duterte cited violations of civil and political rights through extrajudicial killings, massacres, arbitrary arrests, torture, political persecution, and rights violations arising from the imposition of martial law in the region.
This was not the first time a complaint on human rights abuse before an international tribunal was filed against Mr. Duterte.
In April 2017, the lawyer of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, Jude Josue Sabio, filed the first case against Mr. Duterte in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Two months later, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s fiercest critics, and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano asked the ICC to investigate the President’s bloody drug war. /kga
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