Crisis in Myanmar: International Accountability Mechanisms

The current crisis in Myanmar indicates widespread abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law committed by the Myanmar military in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States as well as in other ethnic areas throughout Myanmar. This has been confirmed with the report of the UN-mandated Fact-Finding Mission which concluded that the human rights violations committed in these areas “amount to the gravest crimes under international law.” The report recommends that the Commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Military, Min Aung Hlaing, and five other top generals be investigated and prosecuted for the crimes of genocide in Rakhine State and crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States. In September 2018, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that it may exercise jurisdiction for the crime against humanity of ‘deportation’ in the context of the forced displacement of over 800,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

This document sets out the various accountability mechanisms that are possible to address the situation in Myanmar. It begins with an overview of the evidence that has been collected via the UN, through mechanisms that are mandated to provide recommendations regarding future accountability processes.  It continues by introducing the international mechanisms most likely to be applied to hold war criminals to account, either in the short or long-term. It is hoped this brief will be to provide a user-friendly snapshot of the actions that have been taken and to give context and key take-aways for future possibilities.

Myanmar rights-based civil society has stated its support for accountability to be found through the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since the ICC has found that it has jurisdiction over the crime of “deportation” of the Rohingya from Rakhine State to Bangladesh, it is imperative that victims’ groups and International Non-Government Organizations (INGO) engage actively with the ICC to ensure evidence is properly collected and provided. In the short term, it is likewise important that victims and human rights groups on the ground in the camps in Bangladesh collect, preserve and codify evidence in compliance with international standards.

Download the full briefing paper in English HERE.

Download the full briefing paper in Burmese HERE.

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