Washington International Law Journal


Brent H. Lyew


The Philippines is rife with competing struggles for rights of self-determination and international terrorist networks. For years, the Philippine government prosecuted suspected terrorists without an anti-terror law. The absence of an express criminal violation for acts of terrorism led to a blurred distinction between punishing terrorists and punishing secessionists. Responding to public outcry that the Philippine government was violating human rights by punishing secessionists unjustly, the United Nations conducted an investigation. This investigation led to the placement of the Philippine government on the United Nations’ human rights watch list. The Philippine legislature, shortly thereafter, passed the Human Security Act of 2007 (“HSA”). This law codified the acts punishable as crimes of terrorism. Since the HSA’s passage, five prominent advocacy groups petitioned the Philippine Supreme Court to strike down the anti-terror law as unconstitutional for being overly vague and unjustly intruding on individual rights. This comment analyzes the lawfulness of the HSA.

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