Jurists say Myanmar atrocities justify U.N. inquiry

Jurists say Myanmar atrocities justify U.N. inquiry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council should open an inquiry into 15 years of abuses in Myanmar, like those conducted for atrocities in Darfur, Rwanda and Yugoslavia, Harvard Law School said in a report on Wednesday.

Systematic human rights abuses in Myanmar, also known as Burma, “strongly suggest Burma’s military regime may be committing crimes against humanity and war crimes prosecutable under international law,” said the report.

The report by five prominent international jurists came as Myanmar’s junta faced widespread condemnation for putting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on trial for breaking the terms of her house arrest after an American intruder was arrested for spending two days at her lakeside home in Yangon.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called the trial of Suu Kyi “outrageous” and called for the release of the Nobel laureate, who has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in detention.

The jurists wrote that “forced displacement of over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, and widespread and systematic sexual violence, torture, and summary execution of innocent civilians” justify the establishment of a U.N. commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“In the cases of Yugoslavia and Darfur, once aware of the severity of the problem, the U.N. Security Council established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the gravity of the violations further,” said the report.

“With Burma, there has been no such action from the U.N. Security Council despite being similarly aware of the widespread and systematic nature of the violations.”

China and Russia have resisted efforts by the United States and its allies on the U.N. Security Council to push for tougher action on Myanmar’s rights situation.

The report by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School was written by Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, Judge Patricia Wald of the United States, Judge Pedro Nikken of Venezuela, Judge Ganzorig Gombosuren of Mongolia and Sir Geoffrey Nice of Britain.

(Reporting by Paul Eckert)

 Reuters UK

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