Conflicts & War

Myanmar generals denounced in Germany under universal justice

Bangkok, Jan 24 (EFE).- A group of 16 Myanmar have filed a complaint against Myanmar’s military leadership for serious crimes before the German Attorney General’s Office under the principle of universal justice, NGO Fortify Rights reported Tuesday.

In a statement, the NGO, participating in the process, said the 215-page complaint and more than 1,000 pages of annexes include crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity the Myanmar military. These were allegedly committed against the Rohingya community in 2016 and 2017 and after the coup of Feb. 1, 2021.

Half of the complainants are survivors of military operations against the Rohingyas, a largely Muslim community, while others are victims of repression committed by the military junta in the last two years.

Fortify Rights filed the complaint Friday through the Covington & Burling law firm and the documents are already in the hands of the German authorities, although they are not public.

“A united and ethnically diverse front of survivors from various parts of Myanmar are bringing this legal initiative to seek justice and accountability,” said Fortify Rights co-founder and CEO Matthew Smith.

“Despite international attention and various justice initiatives, the Myanmar Army still enjoys complete impunity (…) Germany’s universal jurisdiction law is a global model to combat impunity for the worst crimes and allow access to justice to survivors no matter where the crimes are committed or where the victims are,” Smith added.

Justice or universal jurisdiction is a principle that allows states to initiate legal proceedings against persons accused of serious crimes of international repercussion such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war, regardless of where the crime was committed or where the defendants or victims are located.

The complainants include six women and 10 men from various ethnic backgrounds (Myanmar, Chin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Rakhine, and Rohingya) currently living in Germany, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and the United States.

One of these victims is a 51-year-old Rohingya woman, identified as F.K., who lost seven members of her family in August 2017 during military operations in Rakhine state, where she allegedly saw soldiers torture and kill men and boys.

Those operations caused more than 10,000 deaths and the exodus of more than 740,000 Rohingya to neighboring Bangladesh, where they continue to live in refugee camps today.

“I want justice for this genocide so that it doesn’t happen again,” said F.K., who said she heard how the soldiers raped her daughter-in-law and has the scars from the stab wounds she received from the military.

Thi Da, a 35-year-old Chin woman and mother of three children, said the military arrested her husband in September 2021, who has been missing since then.

Several Myanmar NGOs and individuals such as United Nations Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews and former Rapporteurs Tomas Quintana and Yanghee Lee have pledged to collaborate with the German justice system in this case.

The coup plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis and has opened a spiral of violence with new civilian militias that exacerbated the guerrilla warfare the country has experienced for decades.

At least 2,800 people, including 278 children, have been killed in a violent crackdown by security forces, who have shot to kill peaceful and unarmed protesters, and more than 13,600 remain in detention, according to data from the Myanmar NGO Association of Support for Political Prisoners.

Military operations against the Rohingyas are being investigated for alleged genocide before the International Court of Justice, for war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court and for alleged genocide before the Argentine courts, also under universal justice.

However, none of the alleged crimes committed after the 2021 coup are being investigated in any international court or under universal jurisdiction. EFE


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