The Department of Justice is considering filing war crimes charges against 37 members of the Maute terror group and their co-conspirators who held Marawi City under siege for 154 days, according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
“Thirty-seven cases of rebellion have been filed in court against members of the Maute and the people in conspiracy with them. A special panel of investigators are looking on [filing]cases in violation of the international humanitarian law perpetrated by the Mautes,” Roque said.
The United Nations defines crimes against humanity as any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population and with knowledge of the attack: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, among others.
“In this instance, these include taking hostages, wanton killing, kidnap for ransom, cruel and inhumane treatment of hostages, beheading, and recruiting of children as combatants,” said Roque, a former professor of International law at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
The Palace official at the same time gave assurances that the rehabilitation of Marawi City will be completed within President Rodrigo Duterte’s term which ends on June 30, 2022.
The main battle area, which covers 24 barangays, will be flattened so that the government can build bigger roads, install underground electricity cables and turn the area surrounding the river into a tourist attraction.
More than 7,000 permanent housing units will be built by the government and the private sector for the residents of Marawi.
“The goal is to complete the rehabilitation of Marawi during the term of President Duterte,” Roque said.
Roque, however, said that the final amount needed for the rehabilitation of Marawi City will be determined by March 2018 when the Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) is finished.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier estimated that the cost of rehabilitation could reach as much as P100 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terrorists on October 17, a day after Maute leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed by government forces.