Rohingya genocide survivors drag Myanmar to German courts. Photos/Illustrations
BERLIN – A total of 16 survivors and witnesses of ethnic violence in Myanmar has sued several senior figures in the country’s military, alleging crimes against humanity including genocide.
They filed the complaint last Friday in partnership with the NGO Fortify Rights in a German federal court, citing the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows mass atrocities in one country to be prosecuted anywhere.
“The complaint provides new evidence proving that the Myanmar military systematically killed, raped, tortured, imprisoned, disappeared, persecuted and committed other acts that amount to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Fortify Rights CEO Matthew Smith told reporters. Tuesday local time as quoted from Russia Today, Wednesday (25/1/2023).
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The group claims it has “substantial evidence” that senior military officials knew about the atrocities committed by their subordinates but allowed them to continue. The complaint urges Germany to open a structural investigation into the situation in Myanmar, which could lead to further accusations.
The plaintiffs are civilian members of ethnic groups including the Rohingya, Karen, Bamar, Chin and Arakan. Some are survivors of the initial crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in 2017, while others have suffered from alleged atrocities committed after the military coup in 2021.
“This will be the first universal jurisdictional complaint that will address crimes against multiple ethnic groups and that is what makes this a truly unique endeavor towards justice and accountability,” Pavani Nagaraja Bhat of Fortify Rights told The Guardian.
He accused the Myanmar military of violating human rights throughout the country.
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The Fortify Rights case joins a number of legal proceedings against the Myanmar junta, including universal jurisdiction cases filed in Turkey and Argentina, genocide cases filed at the International Court of Justice, as well as cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC).