Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar: Terms of reference

Letter dated 16 January 2019 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the General Assembly

I have the honour to refer to Human Rights Council resolution 39/2, adopted on 27 September 2018, with respect to the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. In the resolution, the Council decided to establish an ongoing independent mechanism, referred to herein as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over those crimes, in accordance with international law.

I note that, in its resolution 73/264, adopted on 22 December 2018, the General Assembly welcomed the creation of the Independent Investigative Mechanism by the Human Rights Council and called for its expeditious entry into operation and steps to secure its effective functioning as soon as possible.

In the light of the foregoing, I have the honour to bring to your attention the terms of reference for the Independent Investigative Mechanism (see annex), as prepared by the Secretariat, drawing upon its experience with comparable past investigative mechanisms.

I should be grateful if the present letter and its annex could be circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 74 (c).

Terms of reference

1. On 27 September 2018, by its resolution 39/2 on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, the Human Rights Council decided to establish an ongoing independent mechanism for Myanmar. The Council mandated the mechanism, henceforth referred to as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over those crimes, in accordance with international law.

2. In its resolution 73/264, of 22 December 2018, the General Assembly welcomed the creation of the Independent Investigative Mechanism by the Human Rights Council and called for its expeditious entry into operation and steps to secure its effective functioning as soon as possible.

3. The Independent Investigative Mechanism shall act in accordance with the following terms of reference, which have been developed pursuant to paragraph 25 of resolution 39/2 and approved by the Secretary-General.

Mandate

4. The Independent Investigative Mechanism shall collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over those crimes, in accordance with international law.

5. The Independent Investigative Mechanism is further mandated to document and verify relevant information, documentation and evidence, including through field engagement and by cooperating with other national, regional and international entities, as appropriate and necessary for the purpose of discharging its mandate.

6. The most serious international crimes and violations of international law are understood to primarily refer to the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as defined in relevant sources of international law.

7. The Independent Investigative Mechanism shall be impartial, independent and credible and shall act in accordance with the present terms of reference, the Charter of the United Nations, relevant international law, including international human rights law, and United Nations rules, regulations and policies. It shall also take into account the good practices of comparable international accountability mechanisms.

Download full TOR.

Download Burmese translation (Unofficial).

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