Posted by: nupl | August 10, 2009

INTERNATIONAL FACT FINDING REPORT ON ATTACKS AGAINST PHILIPPINE LAWYERS AND JUDGES PRESENTED IN INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS’ CONGRESS IN HANOI

PRESS RELEASE

DATELINE HANOI, 8 June 2009: Belgian lawyer Jo Dereymaeker, of the Progress Lawyers Network Belgium presented the report of the International Verification & Fact Finding Mission (IVFFM) on the Philippines, to the Commission 3 meeting of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) on the third day of its XVIIth Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The IVFFM, a team of eight judges and lawyers from Belgium and the Netherlands organized by the Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation was held in the Philippines in November 2008 and was hosted by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL). It found that lawyers and judges in the Philippines are still threatened, intimidated and killed which prevent them in carrying out their legal profession.

The IVFFM in its June 4, 2009 Final Report entitled “The Measures Measured,” recommended that the Philippine government should consistently condemn all forms of attacks against lawyers and judges publicly, at all levels and in strong terms; and the prosecution of all perpetrators with urgency and fervor. Dereymaeker, a member of the IVFFM, stressed that the IVFFM is also concerned about the filing of fabricated charges against lawyers and activists by government prosecutors and other forms of harassment which undermine the rule of law in the Philippines. The IVFFM strongly called on the Gloria Arroyo government to address the underlying root causes of the extrajudicial killings effectively and to leave no stone unturned in investigating the serious allegations that its own military forces are involved in the killing.

In another submission to the same IADL Commission on the Independence of the Judiciary, Professor Gill H. Boehringer, an Austalian lawyer reported on the Filipino Model of People’s Lawyering, referring to the active participation of human rights lawyers in using their legal knowledge, training and skills to resist the repression and corrupt practices of the government that continues to further the interests of the rich and powerful. Boehringer stressed that the courage, in the face of harassment and threats, their obvious calm and thoughtful commitment of Filipino lawyers to the task of progressive lawyering is inspiring.

In a separate presentation to the IADL Commission 2 on Anti-Terrorism Laws, NUPL Deputy-Secretary for International Solidarity Work Atty. Edre U. Olalia discussed a legal opinion on the Legitimacy of National Liberation Movements in International Law and Their Use of Armed Force. Earlier, NUPL Secretary General and now Philippine partylist Congressman Neri Colmenares delivered a submission to the IADL Commission 6 on Accountability for International Crimes about the Writ of Amparo.

The IADL is an association of democratic lawyers, judges, jurists, law teachers and law students from some 100 countries. The XVIIth congress theme is “Law and Jurists in the Context of Globalization: for peace, development and independence of judicial activities.” The IADL congress, which will last until June 10, also tackles the issues of Independence of the Judiciary, Right to Peace, Anti-Terrorism Laws, Accountability for International Crimes, Globalisation, and Development and Environmental Rights. A 9-member delegation of Filipino lawyers from NUPL is actively participating in the Congress in Hanoi.

(Reference: Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Deputy Sec. Gen. for Int’l Solidarity Work,

Published on 08 Jun 2009
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