Top Jurists Want Probe Into Alleged War Crimes In Myanmar

Top Jurists Want Probe Into Alleged War Crimes In Myanmar

 BANGKOK, May 21 (Bernama) — Five of the world’s leading international jurists have commissioned a report from the International Human Rights Clinic at the Harvard Law School, calling for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to act on what they describe as more than 15 years of condemnation from other UN bodies on human rights abuses in Myanmar.

The Harvard report, “Crimes in Burma”, comes in the wake of renewed international attention on the country, with the continued persecution of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi who is now on trial on charges of harbouring a United States man who swam to her home.

On that charge, she faces up to five years in detention.

The report, released today, concludes with a call for the UNSC to establish a Commission of Inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in Myanmar.

The Harvard report is based on an analysis of scores of UN documents, including UN General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights resolutions as well as reports from special rapporteurs.

The report said that the documents indicate that human rights abuses in Myanmar are “widespread, systematic and part of state policy” — the legal terms that justify further investigation and strongly suggest that the military regime may be committing crimes against humanity and war crimes prosecutable under international law.

Major abuses cited by the UN include forced displacement of over 3,000 villages in eastern Myanmar, mass exodus of at least 250,000 Rohingyas in 1992, and widespread and systematic sexual violence, torture and summary execution of innocent civilians.

“The UNSC, however, has not moved the process forward as it should and has in similar situations such as those in the former Yugoslavia and Darfur,” the jurists write in the report’s preface.

“In the cases of Yugoslavia and Darfur, once aware of the severity of the problem, the UNSC established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the gravity of the violations further.

“With Myanmar, there has been no such action from the UNSC despite being similarly aware of the widespread and systematic nature of the violations.”

The five jurists are Judge Richard Goldstone (South Africa), Judge Patricia Wald (United States), Judge Pedro Nikken (Venezuela), Judge Ganzorig Gombosuren (Mongolia) and Sir Geoffrey Nice (United Kingdom).

Tyler Giannini, the Clinical Director of the Human Rights Program at the Harvard Law School and one of the report’s authors, said its findings clearly demonstrate that a Commission of Inquiry on Myanmar should proceed.

“The UNSC has taken action regarding Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sudan when it identified information strongly suggesting the existence of crimes against humanity and war crimes,” said Giannini.

He said that UN documents “clearly and authoritatively” suggest that the human rights abuses occurring in Myanmar are not isolated incidents.

He warned that failure by the UNSC to take action and investigate these crimes could mean that violations of international criminal law would go unchecked.

— BERNAMA By D. Arul Rajoo

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By: Ramjit

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