Rohingya women describe genocide in historic court
FE Online Report |
Aug 19, 2021, 10:51 a.m.
Aug 19, 2021 4:14:20 PM
In a historic development for Myanmar, Rohingya women described in court, under universal jurisdiction, how the Myanmar army carried out a brutal massacre in their village.
Speaking remotely to the Federal Criminal Appeal Court in Bueno Aires, Argentina, from the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the women recounted how soldiers killed their husbands in Chuk Pyin , Rakhine, Myanmar.
They said the soldiers killed hundreds of people, some women were raped before they were killed. The soldiers then raped many other women in their village and then set their homes on fire.
The women themselves were victims of sexual violence by security forces in Rakhine State before fleeing to Bangladesh in 2017. The names of the victims were withheld for security reasons, a statement said on Wednesday. press release of the British Burmese Rohingya Organization (BROUK).
“This is a historic moment for Rohingya brothers and sisters around the world. We have been fighting for decades for justice for the genocide of which we are victims, but this is the first time in the world that a Rohingya has had the chance to sit in person before a tribunal, impartial and independent, to talk about the crimes against us, ”said Tun Khin, president of BROUK during the hearing.
On November 13, 2019, BROUK asked the Argentine courts to initiate an investigation into the role of Myanmar’s civilian and military leaders in the commission of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya.
Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, such crimes can be investigated anywhere in the world, regardless of where they were committed. The hearing of August 17, 2021 is part of this process during which the Argentinian justice examines the opportunity to take up the case.
Since 2019, developments at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have given impetus to international justice for the Rohingya genocide.
At the same time, many experts – including the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar – have urged states to pursue cases of universal jurisdiction against the Tatmadaw and its allies.
If the case is accepted by the Argentine justice, it will be the first case of universal jurisdiction related to the situation of the Rohingyas in the world.
The Argentina case will cover the full gamut of crimes committed entirely in Myanmar against the Rohingya, including mass killings, enforced disappearances, widespread torture, sexual violence and mass imprisonment.
This is different from the ICC case, which is limited to only crimes that were at least partially committed on Bangladeshi territory.
Among those named in the case are Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Tatmadaw, currently the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Myanmar, and other senior military officials.
“For decades, the Burmese army has tried with impunity to eliminate the Rohingya as a people. With Myanmar both reluctant and unable to investigate itself – especially since the coup – the international community must step in and support all justice efforts, ”Tun Khin said.
During the hearing, the president of the appeals court said they would deliver a swift decision, expected in the coming days. Ojea Quintana said BROUK would take the case to the Argentine Supreme Court if necessary.