Philippines has worst impunity in the world 45 years since Martial Law

By Audrey Morallo

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The Philippines has the highest level of impunity in 69 countries, according to a global study. Noel Celis/AFP, File

MANILA, Philippines — As Manila marks 45 years to the day when martial law was declared, a global study showed that the Philippines had the highest level of impunity among 69 countries, a problem spawned by the threats of organized crime and Islamist militants in its troubled south.

According to the 2017 Global Impunity Index released by Universidad De Las Americas in Mexico, the Philippines scored 75.6 points in terms of the level of impunity in the country, putting it under nations with "very high impunity index."

Joining Manila on this list were India (70.94), Cameroon (69.39), Mexico (69.21), Peru (69.04), Venezuela (67.24), Brazil (66.72), Colombia (66.67), Nicaragua (66.34), Russia (64.49), Paraguay (65.38), Honduras (65.04) and El Salvador (65.03).

"The Philippines is going through one of its most critical moments, due to the increase of violence related with organized crime and increased terrorist activities from local gangs linked to the Islamic State," the report said.

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The Philippine military is currently battling Islamist rebels still holed in Marawi City despite unceasing ground assaults and air bombardment for more than 100 days.

According to top military officials, the battle, the most serious terror problem to hit Southeast Asia in the past 15 years, could end soon although no definite deadline has been given.

President Rodrigo Duterte is also facing intense criticisms as his government conducts a brutal crackdown on crime, drugs and corruption, the three pillars of his platform in last year's presidential election, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 individuals, a figure that the government is disputing.

In Asia Pacific, Japan and Singapore have the lowest level of impunity although there were classified under nations with intermediate impunity index.

According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, impunity refers to the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violence to either criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings.

This is because the perpetrators are not subject to any inquiry that may lead to their arrest, trial and, if found guilty, sentencing with appropriate penalties, including reparations to the victims, according to the UNCHR.

There is an imbalance between the functional and the structural dimensions of impunity in the country, according to the study.

According to the report, the Philippines scored 94.06 for its structural security system and 99.07 for its structural justice system.

It got 44.64 for its functional security system and 42.22 for its functional justice system.

This indicates that the country has not yet installed the capacities needed to deliver justice and security.

Its justice and security systems, on the other hand, are middling despite the lack of capacities needed to combat impunity.

The country with the lowest impunity index in the world is Croatia which got a score of 36.01 points. It is followed by Bulgaria (37.19), Slovenia (37.23), Sweden (39.15), Norway (40.9), Montenegro (42.13), Czech Republic (42.83), Greece (44.56), Germany (45.10) and the Netherlands (45.31).

The US was classified as a country with an intermediately high impunity level after it got a score of 64.68.

To measure impunity levels, the study monitored criminal justice procedures beginning with the commission of crime or offense, continuing with crime reporting and investigation and concluding with a judgment or means to redress the injustice done.

The Global Impunity Index measured three dimensions: structural, functional and human rights. The measuring range is 0-100 where zero means inexistent impunity while 100 means the highest level of impunity.

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