Ref: Prof H. Harr L. Roque, Director, Institute of International Legal Studies
University of the Philippines Law Center
The use of modern fighter jets and air strikes against the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu is illegal. Under human rights law, the use of force in police operations should be absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the threat posed by the Filipinos in Sabah. Moreover, Respect for the right to life of a police suspect requires that the nature and degree of force used be proportionate to the threat posed by the suspect to the safety and security of the police officers, other individuals and society as a whole. Malaysian Law enforcement officials should, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to force, and in particular, the resort to airstrikes.
Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.
News of Malaysias use of air strikes may be found here: