June 30, 2023

Myanmar Junta War Crimes Rising: UN Report

The Irrawaddy

UN investigators said the frequency and intensity of war crimes in Myanmar have dramatically increased in recent months as the junta escalates aerial bombardments and shelling of civilian targets.

The United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) said it has significantly increased its investigation and collection of evidence to share with international judicial authorities.

The junta has left more than 3,700 citizens dead and detained nearly 23,700, according to a domestic monitoring group. It has escalated massacres, aerial bombings and arson attacks on the civilian population. Its airstrike on Pazi Gyi village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region, in April killed around 175 people, including children, in the deadliest airstrike since the 2021 coup.

In a statement on Wednesday, IIMM said given the enormous increase in violence in Myanmar, the mechanism is focusing its investigations on the gravest incidents and where the impact on victims is most severe.

It said it had collected evidence from over 700 sources, such as documents, photographs, videos, geospatial imagery, social media posts and other open-source material. The agency said it has interviewed around 200 survivors, eyewitnesses and defectors.

Over 135 case files with supporting information and analysis have been made available, IIMM said.

Nicholas Koumjia, head of the IIMM, said the agency had collected credible evidence of an array of war crimes and crimes against humanity across the country, including murder, rape, torture, unlawful imprisonment and deportation or forcible transfer.

He said his team collected evidence while it was fresh, analyzing it and preparing case files to be shared with the judicial authorities to hold perpetrators responsible.

“Serious international crimes have no statute of limitations. This means that there is no time limit for perpetrators to be prosecuted and we are working to ensure that those responsible for these crimes will one day be held accountable,” Koumjia said.

The final investigations will be published on August 8 and it will be presented to the Human Rights Council on September 11 and brief the General Assembly later in the year, the IIMM said.

IIMM added that it was continuing to investigate earlier crimes, particularly those committed during the 2016 and 2017 clearance operations against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.

Topics: civil disobedience movement, civilian deaths, Coup, crackdown, Democracy, Human Rights, IIMM, junta, military in politics, military regime, Min Aung Hlaing, National League for Democracy, National Unity Government, November 8 general election, PDF, People’s Defense Force, people’s war, Political Prisoners, regime, State Administrative Council, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Tatmadaw, the rule of law, The United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, United Nations

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