Roque hits CHR for failure to probe also human rights violations of Maute
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque hit on Tuesday Commission on Human Rights for its failure to investigate human rights violations committed by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists during their five-month siege in Marawi City.
Roque slammed CHR, specifically after its commissioner, Roberto Cadiz, recently made a statement lawyers are mocking the law and human rights, without naming those lawyers.
"It’s curious that CHR Commissioner Cadiz said that lawyers are mocking the law and human rights. So I’d like to challenge Commissioner Cadiz, name names. Who is the lawyer who he alleges to be making a mockery out of the rule of law and human rights? And who are the lawyers assisting this main lawyer whom he says is mocking human rights and the rule of law?," said Roque, a human rights lawyer before joining the government, in a press briefing.
Roque said since the CHR was not acting on the human rights violations by the Maute terrorists, he would take the responsibility of doing it.
The spokesman will go to Marawi and hold a press briefing there on Wednesday.
He said he will also gather as many information on the cases that he could file against members of the Maute terrorist group for violations of the international humanitarian law which is the domestic law implementing the second additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions, otherwise known as punishing war crimes committed in non-international armed conflicts.
"We will do this knowing that the CHR will not be any help in according victims of the Maute terrorist groups justice," he said.
He said the CHR was just focused in investigating the human rights violations allegedly committed by the state forces.
"It is always atrocities allegedly committed by state agents. And their position has been consistent, the role is to document abuses of human rights committed by state agents which is wrong, because international humanitarian law punishes everyone even non-state actors," he said.
"If you look at the case law of the international criminal court, majority of the accused are non-state actors. Someone has to take up the cudgels for the victims of war crimes in domestic armed conflicts," he added.
Roque said his office would not wait for the CHR initiative to probe Maute militants because "clearly" the agency has other priorities.
He said they will coordinate with the Department of Justice.
"Even before I was designated Presidential Spokesperson and when I was still a member of Congress, I know there is already a special committee of public prosecutors formed by Secretary Vit(aliano) Aguirre (II) to prosecute individuals for violations of the IHL law in connection with Marawi," he said.
Insofar as the alleged human rights violations committed by the government forces in Marawi is concerned, he said the Armed Forces of the Philippines is already conducting its own investigation. Celerina Monte/DMS