Penalizing war crimes, generally accepted principle of international law

PENALIZING WAR CRIMES IS A GENERALLY ACCEPTED PRINCIPLE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW. In accordance with the generally accepted principles of international law of the present day, including the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention and significant precedents of international jurisprudence established by the United Nations, all those persons, military or civilian, who have been guilty of planning, preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto, in violation of the laws and customs of war, of humanity and civilization, are held accountable therefor. Consequently, in the promulgation and enforcement of Executive Order No. 68, the President of the Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted principles and policies of international law which are part of our Constitution.

Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for acts committed in violation of the Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention because the Philippines is not a signatory to the first and signed the second only in 1947. It cannot be denied that the rules and regulations of the Hague and Geneva conventions form part of and are wholly based on the generally accepted principles of international law. In fact, these rules and principles were accepted by the two belligerent nations, the United States and Japan, who were signatories to the two Conventions. Such rules and principles, therefore, form part of the law of our nation even if the Philippines was not a signatory to the conventions embodying them, for our Constitution has been deliberately general and extensive in its scope and is not confined to the recognition of rules and principles of international law as contained in treaties to which our government may have been or shall be a signatory. (Kuroda vs. Jalandoni, G.R. No. L-2662, March 26, 1949)