Myanmar. Crimes against humanity systematically committed, according to a UN report |
Evidence collected to date by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), which is described in its annual report, indicates that sexual and gender-based crimes, including rape and other forms of sexual violence , and crimes against children were perpetrated by members of the security forces and armed groups.
“Crimes against women and children are among the most serious international crimesbut they are also historically underreported and understudied,” said Nicholas Koumjian, head of the mechanism.
Deep dive collection
Since it began operations three years ago, IIMM has collected more than three million records from nearly 200 sources, according to the report.
These include interview statements, documentation, videos, photographs, geospatial imagery and social media material.
The report reveals that children in Myanmar have been tortured, recruited and arbitrarily detainedincluding as representatives of their parents.
“Our team has dedicated expertise to provide targeted outreach and investigations so these crimes can ultimately be prosecuted,” Koumjian said.
According to the publication, “there are numerous indications that since the military coup in February 2021, crimes have been committed in Myanmar on a scale and in a manner that constitutes a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population” and the nature of potential crime is also expanding.
This includes the Myanmar military’s execution of four people on July 25, 2022, which took place after the report was written.
“The perpetrators of these crimes must know that they cannot continue to act with impunity. We collect and preserve the evidence so that they will one day be held to account,” Mr. Koumjian said.
This latest analysis was published just two weeks before the commemoration of five years of demining operations which led to the displacement of almost a million Rohingya.
The The Rohingya have faced decades of systematic discrimination, Statelessness and Targeted Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Violent attacks in 2017 caused an estimated 745,000 Rohingya, including more than 400,000 children, to flee to Bangladesh.
Most of the Rohingya evicted or forcibly displaced at this time are still in refugee or displaced persons camps.
“While the Rohingya have consistently expressed their desire for a safe and dignified return to Myanmar, this will be very difficult to achieve unless those responsible for the atrocities committed against them are held accountable, including by prosecuting those most responsible for these crimes,” Mr. Koumjian explained.
“The lingering plight of the Rohingyas and continuing violence in Myanmar illustrates the important role of the Mechanism to facilitate justice and accountability and help deter further atrocities.
Meanwhile, with the consent of its sources of information, IIMM is sharing relevant evidence to support international justice proceedings currently underway at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Mechanism was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018 to collect and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes and other violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011.
It aims to facilitate justice and accountability by preserving and organizing evidence and preparing records for use in future prosecutions of those responsible in national, regional and international courts.