Judgment of the European Court of First Instance
is a Victory for the Cause of Justice
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
13 July 2007
The judgment of the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) annulling the decision
of the Council of the European Union (EU) to put me in the "terrorist" blacklist is a
victory for the cause of justice. It is not merely my personal victory. It is a victory
for all the people, my panel of lawyers, the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP) as intervenor and the International Committee--Defend.
They have resolutely and vigorously supported me and fought for justice against
my persecution. I take this opportunity to thank all of them.
The 11 July 2007 ECFI judgment is applicable to the 29 June 2007 decision of
the Council of the EU blacklisting me as a "terrorist" on the basis of the same
false allegations and in violation of due process as in the 29 May 2006 decision.
It rules that the Council of the EU has infringed my rights of defense, has failed
to comply with the obligation to state the reasons for blacklisting me and has
violated my right to judicial protection. It paves the way for me to demand
compensation for the social benefits that I have been deprived of and for
the moral and material damages inflicted on me. It requires the Council to
pay the costs of the litigation incurred by me and the NDFP as intervenor.
With the active collaboration of the US, Philippine and Dutch governments,
the Council has accused me of the heinous crime of terrorism. But I have
never been informed of any specific charge of terrorism and I have never
been called to any criminal investigation, prosecution or trial involving any
specific act of terrorism. Nevertheless, I have been serially and indefinitely
listed and stigmatized as a "terrorist" for more than four years. My rights
and freedoms have been violated. I have been unjustly subjected to
sanctions that are in fact punitive (including the freezing of my bank account,
prohibition from work and termination of social benefits) and to official incitement
of public hatred and violence against my person and honor.
I have never committed any crime of terrorism and I have never been subjected
to any criminal investigation for any act of terrorism. To make me appear as a
"terrorist", the Council of the EU has followed the US in claiming that I am
the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and head of
the New People's Army (NPA). It has misrepresented the revolutionary
national liberation movement of the Filipino people as "terrorism", even as
the Philippine reactionary government is bound by the Hernandez political
offense doctrine to charge the revolutionaries with rebellion.
The Council of the EU has also misrepresented the decisions of the Raad
van State in 1992 and 1995 and the Rechtseenheidkamer in 1997, on
questions of asylum and residence, as decisions finding me responsible for
terrorism. In fact, all the aforesaid courts have recognized me as a refugee
under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention. The current propensity of
certain European authorities to dish out lies and use punitive sanctions
against refugees, migrant workers and people of color lays bare imperialist
and fascist impulses.
In the Philippines, I have been repeatedly cleared of criminal charges. At
the fall of the Marcos fascist regime in 1986, I was cleared of the charges
of rebellion and subversion. In 1992 the charge of subversion that had
been trumped up in 1988 was nullified. In 1994 the charge of multiple
murder arising from the Plaza Miranda bombing was dismissed by the Manila
prosecutors as something based on speculation. In 1998 the Philippine
secretary of justice issued a certification that there were no pending
criminal charges against me.
In 2003, the Arroyo regime started to fabricate charges of rebellion and
common crimes against me. But in a recent decision in early this month,
the Philippine Supreme Court has rendered null and void the identical false
allegations of rebellion against more than 50 accused, including the Batasan
6, some NDFP legal consultants and myself. The Arroyo regime can no
longer recycle said allegations in any new charge of rebellion or terrorism
under the newly-enacted Human Security Act (Anti-Terrorism Act).
The fact that the aforesaid Anti-Terrorism Act was signed into law only on
March 6, 2007 and would become effective supposedly only on July 15,
2007 underscores the fact that there was no crime of terrorism in Philippine
penal law in all the years that the US, Philippine and European governments
were claiming that I was responsible for unspecified crimes of terrorism in
the Philippines. Even as there is now the Anti-Terrorism Act, it remains to
be seen how it can be valid against the Hernandez political offense doctrine
and transmogrify the subsisting and well-defined crime of rebellion into the
ill-defined, vague and overly broad crime of terrorism.
It is outrageous that US imperialism under the Bush policy of war on terror
has drawn the Council and member-states of the European Union to wars
of aggression as in Iraq and Afghanistan, to legislation and executive decisions
with a fascist character and has abetted subservient regimes like the Arroyo
regime to commit human rights violations with impunity, all in the name of
combating terrorism. I hope that the current isolation and unravelling of
the Bush regime in the US because of its crimes of aggression and repression
can drive some sense into the heads of the Council and member-states of
I am deeply pleased that in my struggle for justice against the "terrorist"
blacklist I have contributed to some extent to the advance of the struggle
of the people for a democratic rule of law against the forces of imperialist
plunder, fascism and aggression. I am determined to continue the struggle
because the annulment of the decision of the Council of the European Union
to blacklist me as a "terrorist" is merely the first step in my struggle for full
respect of my fundamental rights and freedoms and because most importantly
the people, especially the most persecuted,, need to unite their will and
capabilities to uphold, defend and promote their rights and freedoms against
imperialism and reaction. ###