End policy on civilian killings before victims can be in courts without fear - Karapatan

End the state policy on civilian killings before victims can be in courts without fear. Thus said the human rights group Karapatan in the wake of a Supreme Court order to designate special courts that will try cases of extrajudicial killings.

The rights campaigners expressed that the special courts scheme is just a way of the Commander-in-Chief to lessen her command responsibility. This merely provides a damage control formula for the Arroyo regime but does not intend to stop the killings.

“If the commander-in-chief refuses to account for her army’s actions, no special court can convict human rights violators,” Karapatan said.

“The special courts, at this point, sounded like a politician’s empty promise.  For one, they failed to mention that there could be hundreds of pending cases in the designated courts and on whose information the court will act upon.  There was also no mention of the obstacles that victims would have to hurdle such as steep filing fees and the inefficiencies, if not the collusion of police authorities handling the investigations.” Karapatan added.

There are witnesses who are courageous enough to stand against the AFP and the PNP in courts, but were treated as suspects and had experienced threats and harassments. There were those victims who have survived the attack but attempts to finish them off never ceased that they can’t even come out just to file a case. 

“The state policy of extrajudicial execution has practically placed all judicial processes inutile, special courts included. Only by withdrawing the policy will the judicial branch be redeemed.” Karapatan concluded. ###