The IPT Verdict: the international community is watching

Guilty verdict ignites further international attention and campaign versus the US-Marcos regime’s war crimes, and strengthens international solidarity for the Filipino people’s resistance

The verdict of the recently concluded International People’s Tribunal (IPT) declared the US-Marcos and Duterte regimes and the US government guilty of war crimes and grave violations of international humanitarian law. It resonated not only to those seeking justice in the Philippines but also to the friends of the Filipino people abroad seeking stronger solidarity with the Filipino people’s resistance.

Eloquently stating the impact of the verdict, Jan Fermon, a member of the prosecution team and a distinguished Belgian lawyer, declared: “The verdict of this Tribunal will empower the Filipino people and their allies across the globe to demand accountability from those responsible for these heinous crimes. Ultimately, the claimants’ aspiration is to create a society where such atrocities cease to exist, and where the Filipino people can fully enjoy their rights without hindrance.”

It is significant to note that the IPT verdict has found “serious violations of treaty and customary international law”. (Read the full verdict at:

These acts and violations, the IPT recognized, were all committed in the context of the armed conflict between the NDFP, the underground revolutionary alliance leading the armed resistance of the Filipino people, and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), aided and supported by the US Government.

In connection with the armed resistance of the Filipino people, it bears noting that the verdict of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on the Philippines in October 1980 in Antwerp, Belgium, declared the Marcos dictatorship never represented the Filipino people, and recognized the NDFP as the true representative of the Filipino people. The PPT is a tribunal that upholds the rights of peoples to self-determination as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, also known as the Algiers Declaration.

Another significance is the IPT Panel of Jurors’ order that the verdict be furnished to the following: the Philippine Embassy in Brussels and the United States Embassy in Brussels – representative offices of the guilty parties ; the European External Action Service; the European Parliament; the International Criminal Court; the International Court of Justice; the United Nations Human Rights Council; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; the International Committee of the Red Cross; the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and, the Permanent People’s Tribunal.

Several of these entities, such as the European Parliament, the UN HRC, the UNHCHR, the ICRC, and the PPT, have come out strongly against the grave IHL violations committed by the US-Marcos and Duterte regimes, some even applying economic and political sanctions on the Philippine government. The ICC also has an ongoing investigation into the mass murders committed by the Duterte regime in relation to its so-called war on drugs.

Complicit governments and parties to these IHL violations would conveniently dismiss the IPT verdict as political and not legally binding. However, as one expert witness at the IPT testified, the IPT verdict “can provide a peoples’ record for future litigation, both nationally and internationally”. The expert witness cited that in a similar tribunal in support of the victims of the chemical agent orange used by the US in its war of aggression against the Vietnamese people, the records and findings of the said tribunal were used to file lawsuits and prosecute the US government.

Most importantly, the IPT verdict has further galvanized the international community, particularly the broad spectrum of the solidarity movement for the Philippines, to resolutely campaign against state terrorism and intensifying fascism, especially in the countryside and the peasant masses. Similar to the period of the US-Marcos fascist dictatorship, broad solidarity formations and initiatives are taking shape not only on the national levels but more importantly on local communities, schools, campuses, local churches and concerned groups of individuals.

Human rights organizations in the Philippines continue to disseminate the IPT’s verdict to local communities and other organizations, and plan to present it to the Philippine Congress as part of their action to hold accountable those involved in human rights violations. 

Human rights group Karapatan said that the IPT verdict put on center stage the inutility of domestic redress mechanisms. These mechanisms fail to exact justice and accountability of the Duterte and Marcos Jr. regimes. The verdict paves the way for independent investigations under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council and other competent bodies from the international community.

“The success of the IPT shows the strength of the people’s movement in the Philippines for justice, self-determination, and peace. It also shows the strength of the international solidarity movement for the Filipino people,” said the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), a global network campaigning for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. Members of the coalition across the world held mobilizations from May to June to further draw attention to the verdict. These actions included delivery of the verdict to embassies of the Philippine and United States governments; public protest actions and rallies; educational forums; webinars; and watch sessions of the IPT proceedings. The actions took place in several cities including Brussels, The Hague, Vancouver, Ottawa, Portland, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

The ICHRP mobilized its international network of supporters in support of the IPT hearings, and vowed to campaign and mobilize the broadest solidarity support for the Filipino people against the US-backed “counterinsurgency” campaign.

The Friends of the Filipino People (FFPS), one of the convenors of the IPT, hailed the verdict as a testament to the strength of the fighting Filipino masses and their struggle for genuine social change. They said that the verdict plays an important role in exposing the violent US-puppet regimes of Marcos Jr and Duterte for their crimes against the Filipino people and bringing it to attention to the international community. Further, the FFPS asserts that the verdict underscores the Filipino people’s right to self-determination and the justness of their struggle for national liberation. 

Days after the IPT verdict was announced, the FFPS launched a global week of action, calling on solidarity organizations for the Philippines to conduct activities to echo the ruling of the IPT, such as militant demonstrations, creative media actions, art initiatives, and actions at key government institutions in different countries and international agencies. They also called for lobbying efforts and engaging with key personalities, such as parliamentarians, government officials, church leaders, policy-making bodies, and concerned institutions. The FFPS stressed that apart from amplifying and supporting the Filipino people’s cry for justice and their struggle for national and social liberation, it is urgent that the role of US imperialism in the “counterinsurgency” war on the Filipino people be exposed and opposed by the international community.

Indeed, as Severine De Laveleye, Belgian member of parliament, and one of the IPT jurors, stated, “To the defendants, this verdict is a solemn reminder that the international community is watching you and will hold accountable those who perpetrate or condone human rights abuses and violations of international laws governing the rules of war.”