Crime & Justice

Rohingya leader testifies in Argentina against Myanmar ‘genocide’

Buenos Aires, Dec 16 (EFE).- The president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (Brouk) appeared in an Argentine court on Thursday to denounce the “genocide” perpetrated by Myanmar’s army against that primarily Muslim ethnic minority.

An investigation has been opened in that South American country after the London-based Brouk filed a complaint urging courts there to conduct a probe under the principle of “universal jurisdiction,” the idea that courts in any nation may try heinous crimes no matter where they were committed.

“I’m here today to launch that investigation. As they are launching an investigation, I will give my testimony (about) what happened to me in Burma, the persecution I faced and many Rohingya faced,” Tun Khin told reporters before testifying at the Comodoro Py federal courthouse in Buenos Aires. “I will focus on especially the systematic persecution of Rohingyas for many decades and especially August, September 2017.”

During those months, he said Myanmar’s army “brutally killed” thousands of Rohingyas in the western coastal state of Rakhine (then home to more than 1 million members of that ethnic minority, most of whom have since fled to neighboring Bangladesh) and raped thousands of women.

The Brouk president said that his movement was restricted during his years in majority-Buddhist Myanmar and that he was denied permission to marry and barred from university studies.

Tun Khin described himself as one of many “survivors of genocide,” adding that Rohingyas will seek justice anywhere in the world for the horrific crimes they suffered in Myanmar.

He also called on the international community to ramp up its pressure on the military government installed in that Asian country after a Feb. 1 coup, saying the regime is committing “brutal crimes” against different minority groups, the Rohingya included.

He particularly demanded that the US government to impose harsher sanctions on Myanmar’s army.

On Nov. 29, a federal court in Buenos Aires ordered an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity targeting members of the Rohingya community in Myanmar, overruling a lower-court judge who had rejected a petition filed by six Rohingya women, Tun Khin and the Brouk.

The Brouk’s representatives chose Argentina because of that country’s prior application of the principle of universal jurisdiction in an investigation of the crimes of Gen. Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain.



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