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DOJ-led group starts probe on ‘violations’ of humanitarian law by ‘terrorist groups’

By Jeffrey Damicog / Manila Bulletin

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DO)-led inter-agency committee on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) has started probing into more than 1,500 incidents of reported violations of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) allegedly committed by communist terrorist groups.

“The review is being conducted initially in the Visayas and the Bicol regions where many of the violations were committed…,” reads the post of the committee in its official Facebook page on Sunday, Nov. 14.

The IHL applies to armed conflict. It is “a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict.” It also “protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities, and restricts the means and methods of warfare.”

The inter-agency committee, also known as the AO35 committee because it was created by Administrative Order No. 35 issued in 2012, posted:

“Under the Operational Guidelines of AO35, resolutions of violations of IHL fall within the mandate of the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons created under Administrative Order No. 35 (s. 2012).”

The committee also posted that the review is being facilitated by the AO35 Secretariat.

The committee’s social media post, however, did not give details on the alleged violations of IHL.

The AO35 committee is chaired by Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra.

The members are the chairperson of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRCP), secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND), and the Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs (PAPA).



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