WASHINGTON DC– Azadeh Shahshahani, prominent human rights attorney and author, delivered the verdict declaring Philippine President Aquino and the U.S. Government, as represented by President Obama, “GUILTY of gross and systematic violations of human rights.”
“Over the past two long, painful and enraging days, We have closely and keenly listened, watched, seen, asked, pondered on an uninterrupted procession of witnesses, survivors, families and friends – victims all in each and every way – as well as experts whose opinions are uncontested and indisputable because they constitute very credible testimonies, accounts and reports,” Atty. Shahshahani stated.
Nearly 300 observers packed into an auditorium, sitting behind victims and families of victims of human rights abuses under Philippine President Aquino, anxiously awaiting the final verdict of the International Peoples’ Tribunal.
After the verdict, the full group of expert witnesses of victims and spouses or family members of victims stood with raised fists. The packed room of observers rose to standing ovation for their courageous presence and testimony. They closed the applause with a chant of “Makibaka, Huwag Matakot! Struggle onward, have no fear!”
“I am happy. Finally, through this peoples’ court, we really got a just verdict,” said Melissa Roxas.
Nelson, another witness whose wife Fidela Salvador was tortured and killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shared, “When you seek justice and justice is so elusive, the verdict addressed a longing that we feel. In a world of injustice, this verdict is so enriching and it fills the emptiness that I’ve had for a long time. The execution of the verdict was for the whole of all Filipinos and I hope it fuels more peoples’ fire for justice.”
The IPT verdict on charges against the Philippine President Aquino and the US government under Barack Obama will be served to the White House and the Philippine Embassy in a rally and march throughout D.C. this Monday, July 20 beginning at 10:00am.
In closing, Atty. Shahshahani stated that the panel of jurors “enjoin the Defendants to undertake, and the People to pursue proper remedial measures to prevent the commission or continuance of such illegal and criminal acts.”
The International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) was convened by the National Lawyers Guild, the International Association of Democratic Laywers, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, and IBON International. For more information, copy of evidence submitted, and the full verdict, visit internationalpeoplestribunal.org. Full coverage on testimonies heard is available on Twitter @IPT_2015. Interviews available upon request.