By Raïssa Robles
That was how I stumbled on Republic Act No. 9851 entitled “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”.
While it makes no mention of extra-judicial killings, it has an interesting section (6) which aims to punish “other crimes against humanity.”
RA 9851 states that “Other crimes against humanity” are committed, for instance, when “willful killing” is done “as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.”
Aren’t suspected drug addicts part of the civilian population and aren’t they being willfully killed right now?
Googling further, I found it highly interesting that the hitman-turned-whistleblower Edgardo Matobato has used, among other laws, RA 9851 to charge President Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa and 25 others with.
Recall that Duterte always refers to anti-illegal drugs operations as a “drug war”. Can relatives of innocent victims of this drug war, therefore, file charges using Section 4 entitled “War Crimes”?
Interestingly, RA 9851 was signed into law by Duterte’s political ally, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And among the signatories to the law was no less than dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial law administrator, Juan Ponce Enrile.
I would like to stress that I am all for a vigorous and anti-illegal drugs campaign. But not like this “war” that Duterte is waging, where innocent victims such as children, bystanders or passengers are airily dismissed as “collateral” damage because it’s a “war”. The government has not laid out any protocols that the police should follow if suspects are accompanied by relatives or children or happen to be in a vehicle with other passengers.
Killing innocents (whether by accident or otherwise) during drug operations and not doing anything about it is called “impunity”.
The police know that others are taking advantage of the “drug war” in order to settle scores or cover up their participation but they have not taken visible steps to prevent such “deaths under investigations” – nor have they brought perpetrators to justice. This, too, is called “impunity”.
I am appalled by the thought of friends applauding Duterte’s murderous war. If you are one of them, please unfriend me. Or listen to my arguments. Because once you support vigilantes – and that includes law enforcers – you also allow innocent people to be killed. Collateral damage is never ever acceptable in a just and humane society.
What about those drug addicts who have killed with impunity? What about drug traffickers who have destroyed lives?
Arrest them and convict them. Killing them is copping out.
But why not just kill them? As well as those suspected drug addicts and pushers?
You know Murphy’s Law – if something can go wrong, it will.
And we’ve seen the so-called “kamay na bakal” go horribly, horribly wrong during Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law.
Knowing this, why should we go the same deadly, failed route again?
Below is the text of RA 9851.
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Third Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-seventh day of July, two thousand nine.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9851
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
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity”.
Section 2. Declaration of Principles and State Policies. –
(a) The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to a policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations.
(b) The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, including the rights of indigenous cultural communities and other vulnerable groups, such as women and children;
(c) It shall be the responsibility of the State and all other sectors concerned to resolved armed conflict in order to promote the goal of “Children as Zones of Peace”;
(d) The state adopts the generally accepted principles of international law, including the Hague Conventions of 1907, the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of war and international humanitarian law, as part of the law our nation;
(e) The most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level, in order to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus contribute to the prevention of such crimes, it being the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes;
(f) The State shall guarantee persons suspected or accused of having committed grave crimes under international law all rights necessary to ensure that their trial will be fair and prompt in strict accordance with national and international law and standards for fair trial, It shall also protect victims, witnesses and their families, and provide appropriate redress to victims and their families, It shall ensure that the legal systems in place provide accessible and gender-sensitive avenues of redress for victims of armed conflict, and
(g)The State recognizes that the application of the provisions of this Act shall not affect the legal status of the parties to a conflict, nor give an implied recognition of the status of belligerency
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Section 3. For purposes of this Act, the term:
(a) “Apartheid’ means inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime
(b) “Arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population” means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under domestic or international law.
(c) “Armed conflict” means any use of force or armed violence between States or a protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within that State: Provided, That such force or armed violence gives rise, or may give rise, to a situation to which the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, including their common Article 3, apply. Armed conflict may be international, that is, between two (2) or more States, including belligerent occupation; or non-international, that is, between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a state. It does not cover internal disturbances or tensions such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence or other acts of a similar nature.
(d) “Armed forces” means all organized armed forces, groups and units that belong to a party to an armed conflict which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which enforces compliance with International Humanitarian Law
(e) “Attack directed against any civilian population” means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in Section 6 of this Act against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack.
(f) “Effective command and control” or ” effective authority and control” means having the material ability to prevent and punish the commission of offenses by subordinates.
(g) “Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons” means the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time
(h) “Enslavement” means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children.
(i) “Extermination” means the international infliction of conditions of life, inter alia, the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of a part of a population.
(j) ” Forced pregnancy” means the unlawful confinement of a women to be forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population carrying out other grave violations of international law.
(k) “Hors de Combat” means a person who:
(1) is in the power of an adverse party;
(2) has clearly expressed an intention to surrender; or
(3) has been rendered unconscious or otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness and therefore is incapable of defending himself: Provided, that in any of these cases, the person form any hostile act and does not attempt to escape.
(l) “Military necessity” means the necessity of employing measures which are indispensable to achieve a legitimate aim of the conflict and are not otherwise prohibited by International Humanitarian Law
(m) “Non-defended locality” means a locality that fulfills the following conditions:
(1) all combatants, as well as mobile weapons and mobile military equipment, must have been evacuated;
(2) no hostile use of fixed military installations or establishments must have been made;
(3) no acts of hostility must have been committed by the authorities or by the population; and
(4) no activities in support of military operations, must have been undertaken.
(n) “No quarter will be given’ means refusing to spare the life of anybody, even of persons manifestly unable to defend themselves or who clearly express their intention to surrender.
(o) “Perfidy” means acts which invite the confidence of an adversary to lead him/her to believe he/she is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of International Humanitarian Law, with the intent to betray that confidence, including but not limited to:
(1) feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce;
(2) feigning surrender;
(3) feigning incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(4) feigning civilian or noncombatant status; and
(5) feigning protective status by use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of a neutral or other State not party to the conflict.
(p) “Persecution” means the international and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of identity of the group or collectivity.
(q) “Protect person” in an armed conflict means:
(1) a person wounded, sick or shipwrecked, whether civilian or military;
(2) a prisoner of war or any person deprived of liberty for reasons related to an armed conflict;
(3) a civilian or any person not taking a direct part or having ceased to take part in the hostilities in the power of the adverse party;
(4) a person who, before the beginning of hostilities, was considered a stateless person or refugee under the relevant international instruments accepted by the parties to the conflict concerned or under the national legislation of the state of refuge or state of residence;
(5) a member of the medical personnel assigned exclusively to medical purposes or to the administration of medical units or to the operation of or administration of medical transports; or
(6) a member of the religious personnel who is exclusively engaged in the work of their ministry and attached to the armed forces of a party to the conflict, its medical units or medical transports, or non-denominational, noncombatant military personnel carrying out functions similar to religious personnel.
(r) ” Superior” means:
(1) a military commander or a person effectively acting as a military commander; or
(2) any other superior, in as much as the crimes arose from activities within the effective authority and control of that superior.
(s) “Torture” means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical, mental, or psychological, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions.
(t) “Works and installations containing dangerous forces” means works and installations the attack of which may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population, namely: dams, dikes, and nuclear, electrical generation stations.
CRIMES AGAINST INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW,
GENOCIDE AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
Section 4. War Crimes. – For the purpose of this Act, “war crimes” or “crimes against Interntional Human Humanitarian Law” means:
(a) In case of an international armed conflict , grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention:
(1) Willful killing;
(2) Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;
(3) Willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
(4) Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;
(5) Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
(6) Arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population or unlawful confinement;
(7) Taking of hostages;
(8) Compelling a prisoner a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power; and
(9) Unjustifiable delay in the repatriation of prisoners of war or other protected persons.
(b) In case of a non-international armed conflict, serious violations of common Article 3 to the four (4) Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely , any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including member of the armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause;
(1) Violence to life and person, in particular, willful killings, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(2) Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(3) Taking of hostages; and
(4) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable.
(c) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely:
(1) Internationally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;
(2) Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, object which are not military objectives;
(3) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions or Additional Protocol III in conformity with intentional law;
(4) Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as ling as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;
(5) Launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;
(6) Launching an attack against works or installations containing dangerous forces in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, and causing death or serious injury to body or health .
(7) Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives, or making non-defended localities or demilitarized zones the object of attack;
(8) Killing or wounding a person in the knowledge that he/she is hors de combat, including a combatant who, having laid down his/her arms or no longer having means of defense, has surrendered at discretion;
(9) Making improper use of a flag of truce, of the flag or the military insignia and uniform of the enemy or of the United Nations, as well as of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions or other protective signs under International Humanitarian Law, resulting in death, serious personal injury or capture;
(10) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives. In case of doubt whether such building or place has been used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used;
(11) Subjecting persons who are in the power of an adverse party to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind, or to removal of tissue or organs for transplantation, which are neither justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the person concerned nor carried out in his/her interest, and which cause death to or seriously endanger the health of such person or persons;
(12) Killing, wounding or capturing an adversary by resort to perfidy;
(13) Declaring that no quarter will be given;
(14) Destroying or seizing the enemy’s property unless such destruction or seizure is imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;
(15) Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault;
(16) Ordering the displacements of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;
(17) Transferring, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;
(18) Commiting outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatments;
(19) Commiting rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence also constituting a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions or a serious violation of common Article 3 to the Geneva Convensions;
(20) Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations;
(21) Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indespensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols;
(22) In an international armed conflict, compelling the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the belligerent’s service before the commencement of the war;
(23) In an international armed conflict, declaring abolished, suspended or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party;
(24) Commiting any of the following acts:
(i) Conscripting, enlisting or recruiting children under the age of fifteen (15) years into the national armed forces;
(ii) Conscripting, enlisting or recruiting children under the age of eighteen (18) years into an armed force or group other than the national armed forces; and
(iii) Using children under the age of eighteen (18) years to participate actively in hostilities; and
(25) Employing means of warfare which are prohibited under international law, such as:
(i) Poison or poisoned weapons;
(ii) Asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices;
(iii) Bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with hard envelopes which do not entirely cover the core or are pierced with incisions; and
(iv) Weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of the nature to cause superfluous injury or unecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict.
Any person found guilty of commiting any of the acts specified herein shall suffer the penalty provided under Section 7 of this Act.
Section 5. Genocide – (a) For the purpose of this Act, “genocide” means any of the following acts with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, religious, social or any other similar stable and permanent group as such:
(1) Killing members of the group;
(2) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(4) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and
(5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to directly and publicly incite others to commit genocide.
Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall suffer the penalty provided under Section 7 of this Act.
Section 6. Other Crimes Against Humanity. – For the purpose of this act, “other crimes against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
(a) Willful killing;
(d) Arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population;
(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime defined in this Act;
(i) Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons;
(j) Apartheid; and
(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts specified herein shall suffer the penalty provided under Section 7 of this Act.
Section 7. Penalties. – Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts provided under Sections 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium to maximum period and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (Php 500,000.00).
When justified by the extreme gravity of the crime, especially where the commision of any of the crimes specified herein results in death or serious physical injury, or constitutes rape, and considering the individual circumstances of the accused, the penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (Php 500,000.00) to One million pesos (Php 1,000,000.00) shall be imposed.
Any person found guilty of inciting others to commit genocide referred to in Section 5(b) of this Act shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine ranging from Ten thousand pesos (Php 10,000.00) to Twenty thousand pesos (Php 20,000.00).
In addition, the court shall order the forfeiture of proceeds, property and assets derived, directly or indirectly, from that crime, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third (3rd) parties. The court shall also impose the corresponding accessory penalties under the Revised Penal Code, especially where the offender is a public officer.
SOME PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY
Section 8. Individual Criminal Responsibilities. – (a) In addition to existing provisions in Philippine law on principles of criminal responsibility, a person shall be criminally liable as principal for a crime defined and penalized in this Act if he/she:
(1) Commits such a crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible;
(2) Orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted;
(3) In any other way contributes to the commission or attempted commission of such a crime by a group of person acting with a common purpose. Such contribution shall be intentional and shall either:
(i) be made with the aim of furthering the criminal activity or criminal purpose of the group, where such activity or purpose involves the commission of a crime defined in this Act; or
(ii) be made in the knowledge of the intention of the group to commit the crime.
(b) A person shall be criminally liable as accomplice for facilitating the commission of a crime defined and penalized in this Act if he/she aids, abets or otherwise assists in its commission or attempted commission, including providing the means for its commission.
(c) A person shall be criminally liable for a crime defined and penalized in this Act if he/she attempts to commit such a crime by taking action that commences its execution by means of a substantial step, but the crime does not occur because of circumstances independent of the person’s intention. However, a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Act for the attempt to commit the same if he/she completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.
Section 9. Irrelevance of Official Capacity. – This Act shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as a head of state or government, a member of a government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this Act, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence. However:
(a) Immunities or special procedural rules that may be attached to the official capacity of a person under Philippine law other than the established constitutional immunity from suit of the Philippine President during his/her tenure, shall not bar the court from exercising jurisdiction over such a person; and
(b) Immunities that may be attached to the official capacity of a person under international law may limit the application of this Act, nut only within the bounds established under international law.
Section 10. Responsibility of Superiors. – In addition to other grounds of criminal responsibility for crimes defined and penalized under this Act, a superior shall be criminally responsible as a principal for such crimes committed by subordinates under his/her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his/her failure to properly exercise control over such subordinates, where:
(a) That superior either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;
(b) That superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his/her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.
Section 11. Non-prescription. – The crimes defined and penalized under this Act, their prosecution, and the execution of sentences imposed on their account, shall not be subject to any prescription.
Section 12. Orders from a Superior. – The fact that a crime defined and penalized under this Act has been committed by a person pursuant to an order of a government or a superior, whether military or civilian, shall not relieve that person of criminal responsibility unless all of the following elements occur:
(a) The person was under a legal obligation to obey orders of the government or the superior in question;
(b) The person did not know that the order was unlawful; and
(c) The order was not manifestly unlawful.
For the purposes of this section, orders to commit genocide or other crimes against humanity are manifestly unlawful.
Protection of Victims and Witnesses
Section 13. Protection of Victims and Witnesses. – In addition to existing provisions in Philippine law for the protection of victims and witnesses, the following measures shall be undertaken:
(a) The Philippine court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and physiological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses. In so doing, the court shall have regard of all relevant factors, including age, gender and health, and the nature of the crime, in particular, but not limited to, where the crime involves sexual or gender violence or violence against children. The prosecutor shall take such measures particularly during the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. These measures shall not be prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and to a fair and impartial trial;
(b) As an exception to the general principle of public hearings, the court may, to protect the victims and witnesses or an accused, conduct any part of the proceedings in camera or allow the presentation of evidence by electronic or other special means. In particular, such measures shall be implemented in the case of the victim of sexual violence or a child who is a victim or is a witness, unless otherwise ordered by the court, having regard to all the circumstances, particularly the views of the victim or witness;
(c) Where the personal interests of the victims are affected, the court shall permit their views and concerns to be presented and considered at stages of the proceedings determined to be appropriate by the court in manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial. Such views and concerns may be presented by the legal representatives of the victims where the court considers it appropriate in accordance with the established rules of procedure and evidence; and
(d) Where the disclosure of evidence or information pursuant to this Act may lead to the grave endangerment of the security of a witness for his/her family, the prosecution may, for the purposes of any proceedings conducted prior to the commencement of the trial, withhold such evidence or information and instead submit a summary thereof. Such measures shall be exercised in a manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and to a fair and impartial trial.
Section 14. Reparations to Victims. – In addition to existing provisions in Philippine law and procedural rules for reparations to victims, the following measures shall be undertaken:
(a) The court shall follow the principles relating to the reparations to, or in respect of, victims,including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. On this basis, in its decision, the court may, wither upon request or on its own motion in exceptional circumstances, determine the scope and extent of any damage, loss and injury to, or in respect of, victims and state the principles on which it is acting;1avvphi1
(b) The court may make an order directly against a convicted person specifying appropriate reparations to, or in respect of, victims, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation; and
(c) Before making an order under this section, the court may invite and shall take account of representations from or on behalf of the convicted person, victims or other interested persons.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prejudicing the rights of victims under national or international law.
Applicability of International Law and Other Laws
Section 15. Applicability of International Law.- In the application and interpretation of this Act, Philippine courts shall be guided by the following sources:
(a) The 1948 Genocide Convention;
(b) The 1949 Genava Conventions I-IV, their 1977 Additional Protocols I and II and their 2005 Additional Protocol III;
(c) The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, its First Protocol and its 1999 Second Protocol;
(d) The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and its 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict;
(e) The rules and principles of customary international law;
(f) The judicial decisions of international courts and tribunals;
(g) Relevant and applicable international human rights instruments;
(h) Other relevant international treaties and conventions ratified or acceded to by the Republic of the Philippines; and
(i) Teachings of the most highly qualified publicists and authoritative commentaries on the foregoing sources as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of international law.
Section 16. Suppletory Application of the Revised Penal Code and Other General or Special Laws. – The provisions of the Revised Penal Code and other general or special laws shall have a suppletory application to the provisions of this Act.
Section 17. Jurisdiction.– The State shall exercise jurisdiction over persons, whether military or civilian, suspected or accused of a crime defined and penalized in this Act, regardless of where the crime is committed, provided, any one of the following conditions is met:
(a) The accused is a Filipino citizen;
(b) The accused, regardless of citizenship or residence, is present in the Philippines; or
(c) The accused has committed the said crime against a Filipino citizen.
In the interest of justice, the relevant Philippine authorities may dispense with the investigation or prosecution of a crime punishable under this Act if another court or international tribunal is already conducting the investigation or undertaking the prosecution of such crime. Instead, the authorities may surrender or extradite suspected or accused persons in the Philippines to the appropriate international court, if any, or to another State pursuant to the applicable extradition laws and treaties.
No criminal proceedings shall be initiated against foreign nationals suspected or accused of having committed the crimes defined and penalized in this Act if they have been tried by a competent court outside the Philippines in respect of the same offense and acquitted, or having been convicted, already served their sentence.
Section 18. Philippine Court, Prosecutors and Investigators. – The Regional Trial Court of the Philippines shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over the crimes punishable under this Act. Their judgments may be appealed or elevated to the Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court as provided by law.
The Supreme Court shall designate special courts to try cases involving crimes punishable under this Act. For these cases, the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police or other concerned law enforcement agencies shall designate prosecutors or investigators as the case may be.
The State shall ensure that judges, prosecutors and investigators, especially those designated for purposes of this Act, receive effective training in human rights, International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law.
Section 19. Separability Clause. – If, for any reason or reasons, any part or provision of this Statute shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, other parts or provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect.
Section 20. Repealing Clause. – All laws, presidential decrees and issuances, executive orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Statute are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 21. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers general circulation.
Sgd. PROSPERO C. NOGRALES
Sgd. JUAN PONCE ENRILE
This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2669 and House Bill No. 6633 was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on October 14, 2009 and October 16, 2009, respectively.
Sgd. MARILYN B. BARUA-YAP
Sgd. EMMA LIRIO-REYES
Sgd. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
President of the Philippines
December 11, 2009