World leaders must always be reminded that they are accountable to the people they represent. When those in power fail in their responsibilities to their people, domestic and international laws provide us with the instruments or remedial measures to correct injustice.
The NAGKAISA Labor Coalition (NAGKAISA) welcomes the report by the International Criminal Court that a “reasonable basis” has been found for crimes against humanity committed in the course of the Duterte government’s “war” on drugs. This report provides glaring evidence that the Philippine government has horribly failed in its duty to protect the lives and dignity of its citizens. Instead, what we have seen under Duterte is the intensification of violence against our fellow Filipinos. From the drug war killings to the red-tagging, intimidation, as well as murder of trade unionists and progressive activists, the Duterte government does not represent a break from previous administrations, rather merely showing its preference for violence when compared to earlier regimes.
NAGKAISA, together with the broader progressive movement and our friends in civil society, welcomes the ICC report. We believe that impunity and the abuse of power has continued for too long in the Philippines. While a warning to self-serving government officials, Duterte’s possible indictment for crimes against humanity is also a huge boost to the struggle of people’s organizations on the ground. International pressure will bring much needed support to the various groups and individuals that have devoted their lives to the service of Filipinos.
It is these activists, unionists, and reformers that have been the focus of government repression, not the thieves in power that have robbed Filipinos of a dignified life for decades. We look forward to holding the Duterte government accountable for its crimes against the working people of the Philippines.
Those victims of atrocities are not hopeles. Since the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials after WW2, a number of civilian and military key leaders have been brought before domestic and international courts to be held accountable to charges including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Many were convicted and some were acquitted.