Today, 4 January 2010, marks the start of the EU-Philippine Justice Support Programme headed by Berlin’s Senior Public Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis. The European Union is carrying out the programme at the request of the Philippine Government and it aims to support the Philippine judiciary and police in investigating so-called extra-judicial killings.
Along with other European experts, Mehlis will advise the Philippine judiciary, police and human rights groups, initially for one year, on investigating unsolved murder and abduction cases involving journalists, human rights advocates and political activists, and will also lead relevant training sessions.
Commenting on the launch of the project, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office Günter Nooke issued the following statement in Berlin today (4 January):
“The EU-Philippine Justice Support Programme will play an important role in fighting impunity in cases of extra-judicial killings and in implementing rule-of-law principles in the Philippines. It is of crucial decisive importance that the Philippine judiciary manage to sentence at least some of the perpetrators in the many unsolved murder cases. Only then will it be possible to strengthen trust in the rule of law and deter new crimes. Achieving this will require a resolute approach and the cooperation of the Philippine authorities.”
From May 2005 to January 2006, Detlev Mehlis served as UN Special Investigator on the tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The Federal Foreign Office recommended Mehlis to head the EU Justice Support Programme in the Philippines and worked to ensure the project’s swift implementation.