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Verification and Assessment Report – Ceasefire Violations Mamasapano Incident January 25, 2015 April 18, 2015

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From the Website of OPPAP
links: http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/verification-and-assessment-report-%E2%80%93-ceasefire-violations-mamasapano-incident-january-25

Verification and Assessment Report – Ceasefire Violations Mamasapano Incident January 25, 2015

Headquarters IMT – M10
Gonzalo Javier St. Corner
Ilang-Ilang St.
Rosary Height 7
9600 COTABATO CITY
Mindanao, Philippines

Tel : +6364 421 8966
Fax : +6364 421 8425
Email :imt.mindanao@gmail.com

05 April 2015

IMT HQ/OPS/VER/15 – (1)

See Distribution

VERIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT REPORT – CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS MAMASAPANO INCIDENT JANUARY 25, 2015

References:
A. PNP Board of Inquiry. The Mamasapano Report, March 2015
B. MILF Special Investigative Commission Report on the Mamasapano Incident, March 22, 2015.

GENERAL

AUTHORISATION

1. With reference to the Tripartite meeting January 30, 2015 on the Mamasapano incident January 25, 2015 where the GPH CCCH and the MILF CCCH agreed upon the IMT to conduct an independent IMT Verification Mission regarding the Mamasapano Incident, with the necessary support from GPH CCCH and MILF CCCH.

MISSION OBJECTIVES

2. As a neutral body, the IMT Verification Mission is to conduct an independent fact finding and verification regarding the Mamasapano incident. The tasks for the Verification Mission were:

a. To verify allegations of ceasefire violations.

b. To propose recommendations those are deemed appropriate to avoid a recurrence of similar incidents as well as to enhance the ceasefire mechanism.

3. A report containing the findings and recommendations of the IMT Verification Mission is to be submitted to the Peace Panels.

VERIFICATION MISSION OUTLINE

4. The IMT Verification Mission executed its tasks based on the related instruments in the extant ceasefire agreements, fact finding based on interviews of witnesses, to a limited extent studies of written documentation and the conduct of physical verification through field/scene visits as well as observation.

5. The Verification is further based on information disclosed during the Mamasapano Hearings in the Congress, the Mamasapano Report from the PNP Board of Inquiry (Ref A), and the Report on the Mamasapano Incident from MILF Special Investigative Commission (Ref B).

6. During the verification, the IMT Verification Mission have either remained intact as a group or been divided into several teams, respectively headed by HoM, or other IMT Officers appointed by HoM. The Verification Team have met regularly for debrief, comparison of notes, identifying verification gaps, consolidation and planning.

7. The two parties, GPH and MILF, was to support the IMT Verification Mission during the verification with access to witnesses, field sites, written documents, and other relevant information.

8. Members of the IMT Verification Mission observed the following protocols:

a. Avoid faultfinding. The purpose of the verification was to ascertain the truth concerning possible ceasefire violations, and never to determine who is at fault.

b. Avoid badgering witnesses. Witnesses must be handled professionally and not to be treated as hostile. Questions should be posed in a simple language for easy comprehension.

c. Appreciate the sensitivity of information. Information must not be attributed to its source when such information is used to question other witnesses. Avoid double handling of witnesses, duplication of effort and hurried queries.

d. Record answers given by witnesses and do not rely on memory.

e. Be courteous to all and treat witnesses with the greatest respect.

f. Be objective, neutral and impartial. Thus, not to pass any judgment about the credibility of a witness in his presence or in the presence of other witnesses. Similarly, no judgment should be made about the veracity of information disclosed by any witness in a similar situation.

LIMITATIONS

AREA LIMITATIONS

9. The IMT Verification Mission was not granted access to the exact site where Marwan was killed due to security reasons. This area is allegedly controlled by Lawless Elements.

MISSION LIMITATIONS

10. The mission is limited to verification only. It was neither within the capacity nor the mandate of the IMT to make thorough investigations.

THE PARTIES COOPERATION WITH THE IMT (REFERENCE TOR 5.1)

11. The verification mission was dependent on proper cooperation and coordination with the two Parties and also on their compliance with IMT mission requirements. The CCCH’s coordinated the IMT’s request for access to witnesses and information from the relevant actors. The GPH and MILF CCCH’s compliance was impeccable.

12. The MILF fulfilled their requirement with respect to the IMT’s list of witnesses of involved MILF members, leaders and other witnesses.

13. The GPH partly fulfilled their requirement with respect to the IMT’s list of witnesses of involved AFP personnel, and Governmental Officials.

14. The PNP SAF did not cooperate or contribute to the verification. Which is not satisfactory, especially since PNP SAF was the main actor involved in the incident. This seems as a deliberate action by the PNP SAF to withheld relevant information.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INCIDENT

GENERAL OUTLINE OF THE INCIDENT

15. Please refer to reference A and B.

PNP SAF MISSION OBJECTIVE

16. According to reference A; the PNP SAF principal objective was to neutralize high value targets (HVTs) Zhulkifli Bin Hir/Zulkifli Abhir alias Marwan, a terrorist leader of the Jema’ah Islamiyah (JI), Ahmad Akmad Balabol Usman alias Abdul Basit Usman, the head of the Special Operations Group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and Amin Baco alias Jihad, a Malaysian JI member and expert improvised explosive device (IED) bomb-maker.

THE PNP SAF LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY

17. According to the Republic Act No. 6975: CHAPTER III, A. THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE ORGANIZATION:

Section 24. Powers and Functions. – The PNP shall have the following powers
and functions:

(a) Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protection of lives and properties;

(b) Maintain peace and order and take all necessary steps to ensure public safety;

(c) Investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution;

(d) Exercise the general powers to make arrest, search and seizure in accordance with the Constitution and pertinent laws;
(…)

18. There is allegedly a standing warrant of arrest since 2002 for Zulkifli bin Hir aka “Marwan”, and Basit Usman. Marwan has two outstanding warrants and Usman eight. The President confirmed in his January 28, 2015 speech that the PNP SAF mission was to serve outstanding arrest warrants to Marwan and Usman.

19. Conclusion. The PNP have the authority to conduct law enforcement and serve warrant of arrest towards Marwan and other wanted criminals.

PNP SAF PLANNING FOR THE JANUARY 25, 2015 OPERATION

20. According to reference A the Chain of Command in the PNP was violated. The President, the supspended CPNP Purisima and the former Director SAF Napenas kept the information to themselves and deliberately failed to inform the OIC PNP and the SILG.

21. The protocols of the established peace process mechanisms, through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilites (CCCH) and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), were not observed during the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus.

22. The PNP SAF adopted the Time on Target (TOT) application and concept restricted disclosure of information to a limited number of persons until the target was engaged. The primary consideration for adopting the TOT concept was operational security to reduce risks of having Oplan Exodus compromised.

23. Further, according to reference A: The mission planning of Oplan Exodus was defective due to: (1) poor analysis of the area of operation; (2) unrealistic assumptions; (3) poor intelligence estimate; (4) absence of abort criteria; (5) lack of flexibility in its CONOPS; (6) inappropriate application of TOT coordination; and (7) absence of prior coordination with the AFP and AHJAG.

24. According to reference A, the coordination with AFP was not done due to the risks of intelligence leakage. Napenas raised his concern that the AFP might be compromised due to intermarriages of some AFP personnel with the local people. He cited previous SAF operations against the same HVTs that were coordinated with the AFP. Suspended CPNP Purisima and Mendez shared the qualm of Napenas.

DEFINITION OF AN OFFICIAL MILF AREA

25. MILF Areas/Communitites are identified in the following references:

26. Interim Implementing Guidelines on the joint Communique of 6 May 2002 IV Definition of Terms: G. MILF Areas/Communitites refer to the places in Mindanao identified by the GRP and MILF Peace Panels where the MILF elements are situated.

27. Areas for MILF forces are identified in the following references:

a. The Joint Acknowledgement of 10 February 1999 as follows: Acknowledge 1) Camp Abubakar Assiddique and 2) Camp Busrah Somiorang as MILF camps to be covered by the cessation of hostilities for the duration of the GRP – MILF peace talks.

b. The Joint Statement of 17 February 1999 as follows: Priority areas for coordination within MILF areas (ref rule V of administrative guidelines of the AGCH of 1997: 1) Camp Omar Ibn Al Khatab (Maguindanao), 2) Camp Badre (Maguindanao), 3) Camp Bilal (Lanao del Norte), 4) Camp Raja Muda (Cotabato/Maguindanao), 5) Camp Darapanan (Maguindanao).

28. No other areas outside these seven areas are to be found in the various documents under the ceasefire agreement. (Hence, no organized MILF forces should be based outside these areas.)

29. Combining a normal residential life with the obligation/exemption in AGCH of 1997, Article II, Paragraph 2 might be challenging. The rule of exemption is as follows: Defensive or protective actions of the GRP and MILF to ensure the security of its forces, facilities, infrastructure, equipment and line of communication, and the safety of the civil government and the population. However, the effective mobilization and the magnitude of well armed fighters being mustered during the January 25, 2015 encounter, indicate a sophisticated and structured MILF military establishment in the area, maybe more than just a rudimentary self-protection force.

30. The guidelines define MILF communities as “places in Mindanao identified by the GRP and MILF Peace Panels where the MILF elements are situated”. Although still no MILF communities are clearly defined/agreed by the two Peace Panels, there is little doubt about the MILF dominance in the relevant Barangays.

31. An apparent military structure within a civil community also raises ethic and humanitarian questions. Hence, the parties are encouraged to further their talks on identified MILF communities and camps.

32. Conclusion. It seems accepted by both the GPH and MILF that the actual area is recognized and identified as a MILF Area/Community, under their certain Base Commanders.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS ON CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS

GENERAL

33. The key issues with reference to possible Ceasefire Violations:

a. MILF providing sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements

b. PNP SAF coordination with MILF prior to the January 25, 2015 Law Enforcement Operation

c. Aggressive action such as attacks, raids, ambuscades, and offensive military actions

d. Terrorist acts such as robberies and summary executions

e. Other possible ceasefire violations

MILF PROVIDING SANCTUARY OR ASSISTANCE TO CRIMINAL OR LAWLESS ELEMENTS

34. Violation of Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities of 1997, Para 4b, Art 1, Prohibited Hostile Acts. Providing sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements.

35. This allegation has been substantiated by the GPH.

36. According to MILF, their members and civilian residents in Mamasapano did not know that Marwan and Basit Usman were in their community. When Marwan was killed, he was allegedly with the group of Basit Usman, in the vicinity where BIFF and the break-away group of Mahammad Ali Tambako are based. It is not an area where the MILF has presence nor control according to themselves.

37. Information from both parties (MILF and GPH) describe this area as a “mixed area” of BIFF, Private Armed Groups (PAG) and possible MILF members.

38. Authorities confirm that civilians did not know that Marwan was hiding in their area, especially since he kept a very low profile, did not socialize, and used a fake name; “Madz.”

39. Conclusion. There are no evidence to claim that MILF as an organization per se provided sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements. However, there are reasons to believe that some members of MILF know the whereabouts of Marwan and Usman.

PNP SAF COORDINATION WITH MILF PRIOR TO THE JANUARY 25, 2015 LAW ENFORCEMENT OPERATION

40. GPH (PNP SAF) did no prior coordination before the Law Enforcement Operation was conducted January 24 to 26. There was no coordination with the MILF. Neither with AFP, other PNP forces, nor the CCCH/AHJAG Ceasefire Mechanisms.

41. Relevant agreements regarding coordination for the Law Enforcement Operation January 24 to 26:

42. The general provisions for coordination between the two parties as found in the 1997 Implementing Operational Guidelines of the GRP-MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities.

Article II: Actions Exempted from Cessation of Hostilities

Police and military actions and administrative/logistic activities shall continue to be undertaken by the GRP throughout Mindanao and the entire country. In the pursuit thereof, confrontational situations between the GRP and the MILF forces shall be avoided by prior coordination with the latter. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Peacekeeping and police actions such as preventive patrols, investigations, arrest, searches and seizures undertaken by the Government against criminality, especially against piracy, robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, murder and other criminal acts.

2. Defensive or protective actions of the GRP and MILF to ensure the security of its forces, facilities, installations, equipment and lines of communications, and the safety and tranquility of the civil government and the population.

43. Ad Hoc Joint Action Group Implementing Guidelines on the Joint Communique of 6 May 2002, VI. MECHANICS OF IMPLEMENTATION,

1. The AFP/PNP shall, convey to the MILF through the AHJAG the Order of Battle as defined in Paragraph IV, E containing the names and identities of the criminal elements as provided in Paragraph 3 of the Joint Communiqué of 6 May 2002.

2. The MILF through the AHJAG shall validate and subsequently act on the information as contained in the Order of Battle.

3. The MILF further shall provide information, as available, on other suspected criminal elements in their areas/communities that come to their attention.

4. The AHJAG shall coordinate with the AFP/PNP and MILF/BIAF to effect the apprehension and arrest of the suspected criminal elements.

5. To avoid unnecessary armed confrontations, the displacement of communities and damage to properties, the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) or Tactical Command Post (TCP) of the government operating forces and with the MILF forces in the area shall work and coordinate closely with the AHJAG and vice versa.

6. Except for operations against high priority targets, a list of which shall be provided by the GPH Panel to the MILF Panel, the AHJAG shall inform the GPH and the MILF CCCH at least 24 hours prior to the conduct of the AFP/PNP operations in order to allow sufficient time for the evacuation of civilians and to avoid armed confrontation between the GPH and MILF forces.

7. In hot pursuit operations in MILF areas/communities, the AFP/PNP commander shall coordinate with the AHJAG. Pursuit operations by the AFP/PNP against criminal elements shall not exceed seventy-two (72) hours and can be extended upon consultation with the AHJAG. Paramilitary/irregular forces shall not be allowed to engage in hot pursuit.

8. An after-operation report shall be immediately submitted by the AHJAG to the GPH and MILF Panels, copy furnished both CCCHs.

9. The MILF shall block the entry of suspected criminal elements into MILF areas/communities based on the Order of Battle and other information jointly verified by the AHJAG. Arrested/apprehended personalities shall be turnedover to the AHJAG.

44. There are two different interpretations of paragraph 6, VI Mechanics of Implementation, Implementing Guidelines on the Joint Communique of 6 May 2002. Both are due to the first sentence of the paragraph stating: . Except for operations against high priority targets, (…)

45. Interpretation 1: For operations against high priority targets the AHJAG can inform GPH and the MILF CCCH less than 24 hours prior to the the AFP/PNP operations, but they must still inform to allow sufficient time for the evacuation of civilians and to avoid armed confrontation between the GPH and MILF forces. For this interpretation the Exception is associated to the at least 24 hours rule within the same paragraph.

46. Interpretation 2: For operations against high priority targets the AHJAG do not have to inform GPH and the MILF CCCH. For this interpretation the Excpetion is not also setting aside the at least 24 hour rule, and it would also set aside paragraph 4: The AHJAG shall coordinate with the AFP/PNP and MILF/BIAF (…).

47. The Crafters of the Implementing Guidelines on the Joint Communique of 6 May 2002 should if possible help clear up this uncertainty.

48. The IMT interpretation is until any official clarification that for operations against high priority targets the AHJAG can inform GPH and the MILF CCCH less than 24 hours prior to the the AFP/PNP operations, but they still must inform to allow sufficient time for the evacuation of civilians and to avoid armed confrontation between the GPH and MILF forces. (Intepretation 1.)

49. The provisions of the Interim Implementing Guidelines (15 Feb 2012) of the 6 May 2002 Joint Communique for law enforcement in MILF communities should have entered into effect (AHJAG coordinated), depending on the interpretation.

50. Conclusion. The PNP SAF launched the law enforcement operations in Mamasapano on the January 25, 2015 without initiating any of the conflict preventive mechanisms available to the GPH. Hence the GPH is in violation of Article II of the AGCH of 1997. Depending on the interpretation, the GPH violated Interim Implementing Guidelines (15 Feb 2012) of the 6 May 2002 Joint
Communiqué for law enforcement in MILF communities.

AGGRESSIVE ACTION SUCH AS ATTACKS, RAIDS, AMBUSCADES, AND OFFENSIVE MILITARY ACTIONS

51. Violation of Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities of 1997, Para 3B, Art 1, Prohibited Hostile Acts. Aggressive actions such as attacks, raids, ambuscades, landminings, and offensive military actions such as shelling, reconnoltering, and unjustified massing of troops.

52. Both GPH and MILF indicate or claim that the other party opened fire first.

53. After the raid on Marwan’s hut and the following firefight between 84th SAC and BIFF, at some point the Exodus operation involved MILF BIAF and went from the status of deliberately uncoordinated movement, to a disastrous firefight initally between PNP 55th SAC, and elements of MILF 105th BC.

54. The BOI report states that when the 55th SAC heard burst of fire coming from the target area, they took defensive positions between waypoint 11 and 12, east of the wooden bridge. Then, from BOI ”They noticed armed men moving towards them. They observed the enemy forces were growing in number. The armed men started firing at them”.

55. In the Senate hearing, dated February 11, 2015, former PNP SAF Chief Getulio Napenas said that PNP SAF had categorized MILF as enemy forces in Oplan Exodus.

56. Even though it is not clearly stated from the PNP SAF, information given indicate here that MILF fired first. The shots are mentioned to have been sniper fire.

57. Further the BOI report states that no one from the 55th SAC were hit in the initial burst of gunfire but they incurred gunshot wounds one by one after their location was compromised, and sunrise set in.

58. The MILF report states that Members of BIAF residing in the community center in Tukanalipao left their houses at around 04:20 to go to Sitio Amilil when they heard gunfire and learned about the presence and movement of government forces at Barangay Tuka, Mamasapano. When the BIAF reached the wooden bridge, two of their men were fired upon and died. It was allegedly still dark on this time of day, and the BIAF forces could not distinguish which group that fired at them, but concluded it was not friendly forces.

59. Both parties agree that the firing started while it was still dark. The PNP SAF had night vision equipment, favoring them to the BIAF which was not known to have such equipment. Both GPH and MILF agree that 55th SAC were hiding in defence positions, when the BIAF fighters arrived. Further we know from the BOI report that they observed the enemy forces growing in number.

60. It is less likely that BIAF snipers opened fire on long range in the darkness. The BIAF explaination about being fired upon by crossing the bridge is confirmed by bulletmarks on the wooden bridge (also possible cross fire), but especially the large blood stain on the path a few meter West from the wooden bridge, belonging to the killing of a named BIAF fighter. A sniper would not choose to position himself near or on the bridge. The BIAF fighters would also be less likely to open fire from the bridge since it is the most vulnerable place to be, and since the bridge is of simple construction, hard to keep balance without using both hands to support the passing.

61. Sub-Conclusion: There is probable cause to assume that PNP SAF opened fired and killed two (2) BIAF fighters, from 105th BC when the BIAF fighters tried crossing the wooden bridge in the darkness, towards the position of 55th SAC, blocking force. This changed the situation from uncoordinated movement to a full firefight between the parties. Hence the GPH is in violation of Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks and ambuscades.

62. The initial opening of fire and killing of two BIAF fighters around 05:00H escalated the situation into a full firefight. It was further escalated by Napenas ordering the 55th SAC to use maximum firepower and bumutas (cut through the enemy lines) in order to extricate, according to BOI.

63. According to the MILF report as the fighting went on more BIAF members reinforced from 105th BC and 118th BC, and a total of more or less 100 MILF men were eventually engaged on the fighting. There were no organized central command that was in charge of the engagement.

64. Further the MILF report states that the superior number of MILF forces, familiarity with the terrain, coupled with high caliber firearms gave the MILF forces advantage and they eventually subdued the 55th SAC around 13:00H.

65. Sub-Conclusion: In the initial firefight MILF BIAF’s actions was the response and consequence of the non-coordinated movements and agressive actions of the PNP SAF, and hence not a violation to Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks and ambuscades. However, when the MILF BIAF fighters entered the cornfield where the 55th SAC were positioned, even though they responded to the actions to PNP SAF and without no central command, MILF violated Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks.

TERRORIST ACTS SUCH AS ROBBERIES AND SUMMARY EXECUTIONS

66. Violation of Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities of 1997, Para 3a, Art 1, Prohibited Hostile Acts. Terrorist acts such as robberies, unjustified arrests, torture, summary executions.

67. Robberies. According to MILF SIC report when the firefight ended around 13:00H, some of the BIAF forces went inside the cornfield where the 55th SAC were positioned purposely to retrieve the dead bodies of their comrades. While they were in the cornfield retreiving dead bodies, they also took the opportunity to collect war booties.

68. The fallen PNP SAF troops were on extraction missing; firearms, uniforms, combat boots, helmets, vests, night vision goggles, radios, and cell phones. This was collected by personnel from MILF BIAF, and also various other from BIFF, PAG and the civilian community.

69. Legal Reference. Under Protocol II, the Rome statute on the ICC and the R.A 9851, pillage is forbidden while war booty is an accepted and legal practice.

70. Conclusion. The items MILF BIAF collected from the fallen PNP SAF are military and not personal items. The only item which could be interpreted either as personal or military item is the cell phones. However it is mentioned by witnesses that the cell phones were used for military conversation with superiors. Therefore the cell phones as well may be considered for military use. Following the definition from IHL; The MILF did not violate Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Robberies, nor did they violate IHL. Nevertheless, the MILF should have respected their counterpart in the ceasefire agreement, and respected the fallen troops.

71. MILF has later returned 16 firearms and one cell phone to the GPH, witnessed by the IMT.

72. Summary Executions I. Legal reference on treatment of hors-de-combat: IHL, Philippines law, MILF-BIAF (Executive order nr 2) provide that the prisoners of war shall be treated humanely.

73. At around 13:00H the PNP SAF 55th SAC was outnumbered, probably out of ammunition, and had several wounded. They were overrunned by the opposite forces.

74. The BOI refers to the report submitted by the PNP Crime Laboratory which showed that around five (5) SAF Troopers with Fatal Gun Shot Wounds (GSWs) to the head and the mid-portion of the trunk were given coup d’grace or final deathblows in close range. Eleven (11) others appear to have been killed in same manner. The remaining 28 others sustained fatal injuries consistant with a firefight involving high-powered firearms.

75. It is probable cause to state that PNP SAF troops were captured and executed, which would constitute a war crime. There is no evidence or witnesses proving if this was done by certain members of MILF, BIFF, PAG or other.

76. Conclusion. Several PNP SAF troops were summary executed violating International Humanitarian Laws. There is no evidence or witnesses proving if this was done by members of the MILF violating Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Summary Execution.

77. Summary Executions II. Legal reference on treatment of hors-de-combat: IHL, Philippines law, Philippine National Police Operational Procedures, General Procedures, Rule nr 8, Sect 1, 2 and 3) provide that the prisoners of war shall be treated humanely, and that excessive use of force is prohibited.

78. January 26, 2015 a surviving member of 55th SAC killed four (4) MILF BIAF fighters while they were sleeping inside a prayer house in Barangay Tukanalipao, at 1300H. These MILF fighters is considered hors-de-combat since they were incapable of defending themself.

79. Following the same afternoon, the same surviving member of 55th SAC shot and killed a named civilian which was unarmed, and said to have put his hands up in the air.

80. Conclusion. The member of 55th SAC who on January 26 killed four (4) sleeping MILF fighters, and later one (1) civilian, violated Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Summary Execution and International Humanitarian Laws.

OTHER POSSIBLE CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS

81. Violation of Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities of 1997, Para 3b, Art 1, Prohibited Hostile Acts. Aggressive actions such as ambuscades, unjustified massing of troops. Unjustified massing of troops could be a consequence of non-coordinated movements of the PNP SAF troops on the January 25. Hence, the allegations are not applicable to this scenario as it would cause duplication of violations.

82. Violation of Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities of 1997, Paragraph 4c, Article 1, Prohibited Provocative Acts. Massive deployment and/or movements of forces which are not normal administrative functions and activities. This allegation would fall under the MILF violation of the provisions for movements of MILF forces outside their identified areas. Hence, to avoid
duplication, the allegation is deemed to be not applicable to this context.

83. Violation of The Implementing Operational Guidelines of the AGCH, 1997, Article 1, Paragraph 4c, Provocative Acts. Massive movement of GRP forces, which are not normal administrative functions and activities, is considered a prohibited provocative act. This falls under/is a consequence of the GPH violation of Article II of the Implementing Guidelines of the AGCH of 1997:
“Police and military actions and administrative/logistic activities shall continue to be undertaken by the GRP (GPH) throughout Mindanao. In pursuit thereof, confrontational situation between the GRP and MILF forces shall be avoided by prior coordination with the latter.” In order to avoid duplication, the allegation is concluded under those mentioned paragraphs above.

GENERAL ON THE CIVILIAN PROTECTION ASPECT

84. Violation of The Implementing Operational Guidelines of the AGCH, 1997, Article 1, Paragraph 4e, Provocative Acts. Acts that endanger the safety and security of the people and their properties. This provision is encompassed in the Agreement on CPC of 2009 and are discussed below.

85. Agreement on CPC of 2009: Article I (Basic Undertakings). The Parties reconfirm their obligations under humanitarian law and human rights law to take constant care to protect the civilian population and civilian properties against the dangers arising in armed conflict situations. In this contexts, the Parties commit themselves to: a) Refrain from intentionally targeting or attacking noncombatants prevent suffering of the civilian population an avoid acts that would cause collateral damage to civilians.

86. Violation of Agreement on the CPC of 2009. Indiscriminate use of force. Most MILF fighters carry firearms and weapons while interacting with civilians. This could add confusion to law enforcement agencies. The blurry separation can inflict civilian casualties such as in the fire-fight of January 25, 2015.

87. If the PNP SAF failed to take necessary precautions to protect the civilians, if proven constitutes a war crime IHL Law R.A. 9851 Section 4 (c)(7).

88. Conclusion: Two (2) civilians were killed January 25, 2015, one after being apprehended by the PNP SAF 55th SAC. The cause of death was crossfire, and the verification has not concluded which of the parties who fired the fatal shots. One (1) civilian was killed January 26, 2015 by a surviving member of PNP SAF 55th SAC.

MAJOR FINDINGS

89. The major findings by the IMT Verification Mission are as follows:

a. The PNP has the authority to conduct law enforcement and serve warrant of arrest towards Marwan and other wanted criminals.

b. There are no clear evidence to claim that MILF as an organization provided sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements. However, there are reasons to believe that individuals associated with MILF knew the whereabouts of Marwan and Usman. The MILF did not violate Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 4B; Provided sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements.

c. The PNP SAF launched the law enforcement operations in Mamasapano on the January 25, 2015 without initiating any of the conflict preventive mechanisms available to the GPH. Hence the GPH is in violation of Article II of the AGCH of 1997. Depending on the interpretation, the GPH violated Interim Implementing Guidelines (15 Feb 2012) of the 6 May 2002 Joint Communiqué for law enforcement in MILF communities.

d. There is probable cause to assume that PNP SAF opened fired and killed two (2) BIAF fighters, from 105th BC when the BIAF fighters tried crossing the wooden bridge in the darkness, towards the position of 55th SAC, blocking force. This changed the situation from uncoordinated movement to a full firefight between both parties. Hence, the GPH violated Article I of the
AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks and ambuscades.

e. In the initial firefight MILF BIAF’s actions was the response and consequence of the non-coordinated movements and agressive actions of the PNP SAF, and hence not a violation to Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks and ambuscades. However, when the MILF BIAF fighters entered the cornfield where the 55th SAC were positioned, even though they responded to the actions to PNP SAF and without no central command, MILF violated Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3B; Aggressive actions such as attacks.

f. The items MILF BIAF collected from the fallen PNP SAF are military and not personal items. The only item which could be interpreted either as personal or military item is the cell phones. However it is mentioned by witnesses that the cell phones were used for military conversation with superiors. Therefore the cell phones as well may be considered for military use. Following the definition from IHL; The MILF did not violate Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Robberies, nor did they violate IHL. Nevertheless, the MILF should have respected their counterpart in the ceasefire agreement, and respected the fallen troops.

g. Several PNP SAF troopers were summarily executed violating Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Summary Execution and International Humanitarian Laws. IMT verification mission could not find any witness that prove this was done by members of the MILF.

h. The member of 55th SAC who on January 26, 2015 killed four (4) sleeping MILF fighters, and later one (1) civilian violated Article I of the AGCH of 1997, Paragraph 3A; Summary Execution and International Humanitarian Laws

i. Two (2) civilians were killed January 25, 2015, one after beeing apprehended by the PNP SAF 55th SAC. The cause of death was crossfire, and the verification has not concluded which of the parties who fired the fatal shots.

RECOMMENDATIONS

90. The IMT Verificiation Mission recommends the following:

a. The GPH to coordinate and initiate use of the conflict preventive mechanisms available when launching law enforcement operations in MILF areas.

b. Crafters of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group Implementing Guidelines on the Joint Communique of 6 May 2002, VI. Mechanics Of Implementation, to Clarify the understaning of Paragraph 6. Except for operations against high priority targets (…)

c. To assign higher ranking PNP Officer to GPH CCCH.

d. MILF BIAF to strengthen commmand and control mechanism as well as intelligence in their organization.

e. The Parties should respect the laws of war, the international humanitarian law and their respective rules of engagement and codes of conduct.

f. PNP and BIAF combatants found to have committed crimes, should be prosecuted accordingly and penalized, including under provisions of R.A. 9851.

(sgd) Dato Sheikh Mokhsin bin Sheikh Hassan
Major General
Head of Mission

Authentication:

(sgd) Dato’ Pahlawan Khairuddin bin Mohd Arif
First Admiral
Deputy Head of Mission

(sgd) William J. Hovland
Chief Operations Officer

(sgd) Aizuddin bin Pata Ariffin
Civilian Protection Component Coordinator

(sgd) Takayuki Nakagawa
Socio-Economic Assistance Component Chief Coordinator

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– See more at: http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/verification-and-assessment-report-%E2%80%93-ceasefire-violations-mamasapano-incident-january-25#sthash.4US7KorR.dpuf

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