Investigate possible IHL violations vs Kerima Tariman

Photo by Kiri Dalena

Human rights group Karapatan said an independent investigation should be conducted, following reports that Kerima Lorena Tariman, one of the two slain members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Silay, Negros Occidental on August 20, 2021 was captured alive by soldiers, thereby posing questions on possible violations under domestic and international humanitarian laws.

“It has caught our attention that there are reports that Kerima did not die on the spot,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said. “Her father, Pablo Tariman, reportedly said that according to a witness, Kerima only had gunshot wounds on her fingers but apparently, the military decided to finish her off.”

Palabay said that Tariman was a combatant who have rights accorded to her under the Geneva Convention and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Many provisions of CARHRIHL are also considered in Republic Act 9851 or “An Act Defining And Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide And Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts, And For Related Purposes.”

“Under domestic and international humanitarian laws, it is a basic right of those engaged in armed conflict who are wounded and captured to be given medical treatment by their captors. It is a grave violation of humanitarian laws to finish off combatants who were captured alive and in no capacity to fight back,” Palabay said.

Reports from the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the 3rd Infantry Division, the unit involved in the encounter, said that Kerima’s shoulder had been hit by bullets and was severed. On the other hand, Marco Valbuena, chief information officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines said, in statements posted online, that the NPA in Negros reported that Kerima was either “finished off or left to bleed to death.”

“The only way to ascertain these varying reports is to conduct an independent investigation, one that is unhampered by threats and military operations. If these information were true, then the Philippine Army should be made accountable for the death of Kerima,” Palabay said.