AFP NEWS REPORT IS INACCURATE AND MISLEADING
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
June 5, 2008
The Agence France Presse issued a news report on June 5, 2008
which states: "A Dutch court (i.e. District Court of The Hague) gave
prosecutors the go-ahead Thursday to pursue murder charges against
Philippine communist leader, despite an earlier dismissal of the case."
This report is inaccurate and misleading.
To be exact, the court decision is to allow the public prosecutor's office
to have more time to continue and complete the investigation it is
undertaking and subsequently decide whether or not to file a formal
criminal charge. The court acceded to the plea of the prosecution that
it be allowed to further examine some materials seized on August 28, 2007
and to possibly interrogate further witnesses.
At the same time, the court decision acknowledges that so far there is no
prima facie or incriminating evidence against me. The District Court of The
Hague has stated that at the current state of the investigation a conviction
is highly unlikely. Since the examining judge (rechter-commissaris) decided
to close the preliminary investigation on 21 November 2007, the prosecution
has not turned up any evidence to overturn the decision of the The Hague
Court of Appeal on October 3, 2007 declaring that there is no prima facie
evidence against me.
The more than six thick folders presented by the prosecutors during the
May 20, 2008 hearing of my complaint against the prolongation of the
investigation, in the view of the court, contain no evidence shedding a
new light on the aforesaid decision of The Hague Court of Appeal. My
lawyer Michiel Pestman and I derided as "more of the same rubbish" the
folders presented by the prosecutors during the May 20 hearing of my
complaint against the prolongation of the investigation and my demand
for the investigation to be closed and for the case to be dropped.
The aforesaid Agence France Presse report also makes it appear that the
Dutch prosecution is about to file formal charges of murder against me in
court. That is not true. The prosecution has not yet taken such a decision.
In court it announced that such a decision is expected before December 1,
2008. I am confident that the prosecution will decide to drop the case against
Before it can file a case against me in court, the prosecution has to go through
several stages. It must first be able to find prima facie evidence and go to court
to ask for the appointment of a new examining judge. Then the prosecution
gathers further witnesses and evidence and allows me and my counsel to cross
examine the witnesses and get my witnesses. After the round, we can all go
to court for trial of the formal charge.
However, we must remember that aside from ruling that there is no prima facie
evidence against me the Court of Appeal in The Hague also ruled that there is
a political context of the unfounded charge against me. Within that context,
there can be no due process because the witnesses provided by the Arroyo
government to the Dutch government are unreliable and it is doubtful whether
I can cross-examine all such witnesses and get witnesses in my favor from the
In sharp contrast to the absence of prima facie evidence against me, the Dutch
prosecution office and Dutch police have turned up witnesses and documentary
evidence to prove that two assassination teams were dispatched from the
Philippines to The Netherlands to kill me within the period of 1999-2001. But
the Dutch authorities have not moved to pursue a serious investigation of
these grave criminal acts and infringements of Dutch sovereignty and territory.
For the purpose of legal action, my lawyers are studying the failure of the Dutch
authorities to act promptly on the findings about the assassination projects of
the Philippine authorities.###