Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has expressed strong optimism that officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) will suffer the same fate as that of the German Nazis, who were tried and punished for war crimes they committed during World War II.
Roque made the statement following the discovery of more than 1,500 atrocities and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF, also known collectively as communist terrorist group (CTG).
“I’m sure po na gaya ng mga Nazis na maraming nagtago, yung iba uugod-ugod na e nahuli pa rin sila and 50 years later pinanagot pa rin sila. Kampante po ako na hindi po makakawala sa kanilang mga krimen ang mga CPP-NPA,” Roque told reporters. Roque’s pronouncements came on the heels of an announced investigation by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the list of IH violations recently submitted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Center for the Law on Armed Conflict (AFP-CLOAC) under BGen. Jose Alejandro Nacnac.
“Ang liability po nila (CTG) ay dahil sa paglabag sa (IHL),” Roque emphasized, stressing that local communist leaders cannot escape liability for their war crimes in the same fashion as the Nazis were prosecuted for the Holocaust.
Last week, Nacnac submitted to CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit a list of hundreds of willful killings perpetrated by the CTGs for the past 10 years. The report indicated 532 incidents of destruction of civilian-owned properties, the killing of 77 soldiers and 296 civilians, and the recruitment of 464 child warriors.
A similar report was handed over by Nacnac to Dany Merhy, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Deputy Head of Delegation during the AFP-ICRC IHL Integration Planning Workshop conducted in Baguio City last May 27. “The 289 incident of willful killings conducted by the CTGs shows a widespread and systematic attack against civilians and is a clear violation of the IHL and RA 9851 as a crime against humanity,” said the AFP official. On April 22 this year, the AFP and ICRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the two institution’s partnership and cooperation in the effective implementation of IHL.
To jumpstart the implementation of the MOU, the AFP and ICRC team conducted an IHL Integration Planning Workshop in Baguio City on May 26-28. The aim of the seminar is to come up with a joint planning activity to be able to draw the roadmap of the integration process, as well as the establishment of the organizational set-up of the facility that will enable the process to progress.
“This is the first MOU entered into by an ICRC Delegation in a particular country. It is a milestone activity for the ICRC and AFP on the effective implementation of IHL,” sad Merhy during the seminar. Besides prosecution, the CTGs may also be compelled to indemnify victims of their human rights abuses and atrocities with amounts running into billions of dollars.
Undersecretary Severo Catura, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on human rights, peace process, and international engagements, explained that under existing local and international laws, parties that are found guilty of such abuses and atrocities committed in a situation of internal armed conflict may be compelled by the courts to indemnify their victims.
“It is high time that they are held accountable for their spate of willful killings, their destruction of government and private property, their use of children as combatants, their internal purges, and their wanton disregard for human rights,” Catura stressed.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.