Uphold the sanctity of life: Enhancing remedies for victims of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances


College of Liberal Arts


International Studies

Document Type


Publication Date


Place of Publication

Quezon City


Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court


The right to life and liberty and the right of every person to redress are codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which were adopted and ratified by the Philippines. The 1987 Philippine Constitution Article II on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies states that the Philippines adopts thee generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. It also declares in section 11 of the same Article that "(t)he State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights."

In 2001-2007, extrajudicial executions and disappearances in the Philippines rose to alarming proportions and caught the attention of national and international agencies including the United Nations. In 2008, the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) conducted a study on the issues and problems encountered in seeking justice for the victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances and looked at the domestic and international remedies available to the victims and their families. PCICC looked at the possible application of the principle of command responsibility, a well-developed principle in international humanitarian law, lo enhance domestic remedy for the aforementioned crimes.

The recommendations of PCICC to the Philippine government in order to break impunity and exact accountability from both slate and non-state forces in the commission of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances are the following

  • Revise the definition and concept of "command responsibility" in current Philippine policy and law integrating new standards in international law particularly from Article 28 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and jurisprudence from international criminal tribunals and regional human rights courts;
  • Enact a law criminalizing enforced disappearance, that integrates the international definition of enforced disappearance and includes command responsibility as defined by Article 28 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;
  • Review the current Witness Protection Act and Program and enhance them to include the effective protection of the victims and witnesses and their participation in the proceedings as embodied in Article 68 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Section Ill, Subsection 2. Victims and Witnesses);
  • Ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to provide a venue for international justice for citizens of the Philippines for the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity;
  • Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;
  • For the Commission on Human Rights to monitor the prosecution of cases of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.



Civil Rights and Discrimination | Human Rights Law | International Humanitarian Law


Extrajudicial executions—Philippines; Disappeared persons—Philippines; Disappeared persons (International law); International criminal courts

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