Philippines: CHR to investigate mass killings
Graphic: Chairperson of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, Loretta Rosales
The Commission on Human Rights will conduct an independent investigation into the encounter that killed 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will conduct an independent investigation into the encounter that killed 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on 25 January 2015.
The Philippines Daily Inquirer reported that the CHR is seeking to conduct this investigation jointly with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Regional Human Rights Commission.
CHR Chairperson Loretta Rosales led a team from the agency's central office to Cotabato City and Mamasapano on 3-4 February 2014.
After conducting a two-day initial scoping mission, the CHR was able to establish facts "that engender a prima facie belief that human rights and international humanitarian law were violated", the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported.
In a press conference, Rosales said an independent probe by the two bodies was endorsed by local ARMM officials.
The joint investigation team, composed of three working groups, will release the findings upon its completion, she said.
"I propose to anchor the joint independent investigation on these basic points: truth, justice and peace," Rosales said.
Rosales noted that there was a lack of compliance with the rules of the ceasefire agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), such as non-consultation with the Commission on the Cessation of Hostilities.
CHR Executive Director Homer Matthew Rusiana said the investigation will initially gather documents and reports, including autopsy files, from the parties concerned.
The CHR will also summon those present during the encounter, including Philippine National Police officials, if needed.
Date: 10 February 2015
Source: Philippines Daily Inquirer
- Chairperson of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, Loretta Rosales - UN Geneva, Flickr Creative Commons