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O 180907Z JUL 07 FM AMEMBASSY MANILA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7470 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002409 SUBJECT: SUPREME COURT

"SUMMIT" ON UNLAWFUL KILLINGS REF: A. MANILA 2349 B. MANILA 2262 C. MANILA 2120 D. MANILA 1704 E. MANILA 1702 1. (SBU) Summary: Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno chaired a "summit" July 16-17 with approximately 250 government and NGO leaders to explore new options to combat the continuing unlawful killings. Speakers from Congress, academia, the legal community, law enforcement, the military, and NGOs proposed various solutions on how the government could better address this problem. A final report, with formal recommendations, will not be available until the week of July 23, but key concerns including strengthening the Commission on Human Rights and the Witness Protection Program. USAID, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Asia Foundation, and the UN Development Program provided partial funding for the event, at which emboffs were observers. USAID plans to award approximately $1 million in grants by the end of FY 2007 to strengthen human rights protections, including

assistance to the Commission on Human Rights. End Summary. 2. (U) Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno opened the "National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances" on July 16 with a plea to newly elected Congressmen to make unlawful political killings a higher priority on the legislative agenda, and not merely criticize the Executive Branch for inaction but more helpfully propose concrete solutions and reforms. Speakers included retired Supreme Court Justice Melo, Commission on Human Rights Chairwoman Quisumbing, Philippine National Police Director General Calderon, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Esperon. Each Supreme Court justice chaired a working group on the second day to explore specific recommendations to government on how better to address to the problem. 3. (U) Informal recommendations ranging, but key issues included: were wide-

- expanding the legal mandate of the Commission on Human Rights to include investigative and prosecutorial functions; - strengthening the Department of Justice's Witness Protection Program with an increased budget and improved operations; - allowing private prosecutors from NGOs and other legal groups to help prosecute cases (as in trafficking in persons cases); - allowing witnesses to testify using closed

circuit televisions (as currently for child witnesses in various cases), to encourage greater willingness to cooperate; - encouraging changes of trial venue for safety reasons; - improving police/prosecutor cooperation under a new Administrative Order (ref a); - requiring continuous trials (which the Supreme Court has already mandated, in principle); - reviewing the Rules of Court to examine other ways to expedite cases; - offering specialized training for judges at the designated courts; - expanding the role and legal mandate of the Ombudsman better to handle such cases allegedly committed by government officials; - reviving the government's peace talks with Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army; reviewing the doctrine of "command responsibility" and its applicability to these cases. 4. (U) The final report and recommendations will not be available until the week of July 23, according to Court officials. The Chief Justice vowed to forward these documents directly to President Arroyo, as well as to the new leadership in the Senate and the House of Representatives for

consideration and possible action. Puno also designated the Supreme Court's Committee on the Revisions of the Rules of Court to review the Summit's proposals regarding judicial operations and in turn make formal recommendations to the Court justices. 5. (SBU) Comment: Most of the recommendations from the Summit are not new; however, the Supreme Court's initiative to organize this forum helped highlight these issues on the national agenda. Embassy's Law Enforcement Working Group will continue to look for additional ways the USG might be of assistance. USAID plans to award approximately $1 million in grants by the end of FY 2007 to strengthen human rights protections, including assistance to the Commission on Human Rights. USAID provided some funding for this summit, along with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Asia Foundation, and the UN Development Program, while emboffs participated as observers at the invitation of the Court. Visit Embassy Manila's Classified SIPRNET website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm You can also access this site through the State Department's Classified SIPRNET website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/ KENNEY (Edited and reading.) reformatted by Andres for ease of