Seven years of EU terrorist listing and injustice put to an end

Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel warmly congratulates its Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison for his resounding legal victory in the decision of the European Court of First Instance to take him off the so-called terrorist black list of the European Union. We likewise heartily congratulate his international team of lawyers led by Jan Fermon of Belgium, who tirelessly worked for seven years to effectively counter the unjust terrorist listing by the Council of the European Union.

Seven years of EU terrorist listing and injustice are put to an end! The ECFI nullified the decisions and a regulation of the Council of the EU which unjustly labeled Prof. Sison as a “terrorist”. The ECFI decision of 30 September 2009 demonstrated that Prof. Sison was not the subject of any investigation or conviction for any act of terrorism and therefore the Council of the EU had no valid ground at all to put Prof. Sison on its terrorist blacklist. The Court cited the statement of the then Dutch Foreign Minister De Hoop Scheffer on 8 October 2002 before the Dutch Parliament stating there was no reason to even start a criminal investigation against Prof. Sison. The Court noted that this was done less than three weeks before the Council of the EU put Prof. Sison on its terrorist blacklist on 28 October 2002.

The unjust blacklisting of Prof. Sison and two major allied organizations of the NDFP, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) seriously prejudiced the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP. After the terrorist listing of Prof. Sison, the CPP and the NPA by the USA, the Council of the EU and some other governments, the GRP sought to divert the focus of peace talks from addressing the roots of the armed conflict through socio-economic and political reforms. It instead insisted on the NDFP to sign a so-called Final Peace Accord (FPA) it one-sidedly formulated.

The FPA disregarded ten peace agreements forged by both Parties. It was an indecent proposal for the capitulation of the NDFP, requiring the surrender of the NPA, laying aside the substantive demands of the people for social, economic and political reforms and preserving the most oppressive and exploitative characteristics of the ruling system. The then GRP Foreign Secretary, who led a GRP delegation in September 2002 to persuade European governments to follow the US and Dutch government in putting the CPP, the NPA and Prof. Sison on the European terrorist blacklist, declared: “If the NDFP signs the FPA, they will be taken off the terrorist list!”

The Arroyo regime, using the so-called war against terror, has perpetrated massive human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and uprooting of civilian communities. All these are gross violations of the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Special mention is made of the use of the false charges of terrorism and common crimes to justify the persecution, abduction, torture and murder of NDFP consultants and other people.

Just as the terrorist listing has seriously jeopardized the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, so the major legal victory of our NDFP Chief Political Consultant, in the ECFI decision to take him off the terrorist black list, creates a favorable condition for the peace talks. It will encourage peace advocates in the Philippines and abroad to push further for peace negotiations that address the roots of the armed conflict.