All eyes on the Philippines now as independent global probe happens
December 17, 2020
MANILA – After the recent pronouncement of the International Criminal Court (ICC), prominent members of the international community declared on Thursday that there is an independent investigation ongoing in the Philippines called Investigate PH.
The ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last Tuesday that there is "reasonable basis" to believe that crimes against humanity were committed by President Rodrigo Duterte, specifically the thousands killed in his war on drugs.
In a virtual press conference, the Independent International Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines or INVESTIGATE PH was publicly announced.
“We are here to announce that an independent people-led probe is happening in the Philippines. This is most definitely a global issue. The world community has a responsibility to speak up and seek the truth” says Former Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon also a member of the INVESTIGATE PH High Level Commission.
The former Australian senator further emphasized that: “We must not allow the call for human rights be hijacked. Accountability must be a part of the justice and democratic system.”
Also speaking live in the media event were its leading High Level Commissioners namely: Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary of the United Church of Canada; Atty. Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe - General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society, the United Methodist Church; and Rev. Dr. Chris Ferguson, General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
According to INVESTIGATE PH, this global endeavor is an independent international investigation of the human rights situation in the Philippines. It is an initiative of global organisations, religious, legal, trade union and political leaders, and civil society.
“We will submit the final report of the findings to the International Criminal Court and other relevant UN bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly Special Session,” says Atty. Jeanne Mirer, Investigate Ph High Level Commissioner.
The independent investigations are scheduled to happen through a hybrid of virtual and physical fact findings. This aims to further substantiate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights June 2020 report.
A final report of the findings will be submitted to the Enhanced Interactive Dialogues and General Debates of the UN Human Rights Council 48th Session in September 2021, when the High Commissioner will update on the implementation of the Human Rights Council Resolution 45/L.38 that shall provide technical assistance and capacity-building to the Government of the Philippines for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
INVESTIGATE PH also intends to join in preceding UNHRC sessions, including the 46th Session in February to March 2021 and the 47th Session in June-July 2021 to share about the on-going investigation and the preliminary findings.
“That is what brings us together today. What is happening in the Philippines amounts to crimes against humanity. These crimes must be investigated. The human rights cases must be investigated and the perpetrators be made accountable,” Former Senator Lee Rhiannon ends.