Report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (A/HRC/42/66)

Human Rights Council
Forty-second session
9–27 September 2019
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Summary

In its resolution 39/2, the Human Rights Council established 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 these crimes, in accordance with international law. In resolution 39/2, the Council also decided that the Mechanism would, inter alia, report on its main activities on an annual basis to the Council as of the forty-second session. The present report is submitted to the Council pursuant to that request.

The General Assembly, in its resolution 73/264, welcomed the creation of the Mechanism and called for its expeditious entry into operation and steps to secure its effective functioning as soon as possible.

Since the Head of the Mechanism, Nicholas Koumjian, officially commenced his functions on 1 July 2019, he has focused on putting in place place a broad strategy and concept of operations for the Mechanism with the assistance of the Secretariat, so that the Mechanism will be operational and functional as soon as possible. In this regard, the Mechanism has sought to learn from the experiences of international tribunals and other comparable international accountability mechanisms to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.

The Mechanism has identified a number of initial priorities that will put in place the technical, logistical and administrative measures necessary for the effective functioning of the Mechanism and the implementation of its mandate.

The Mechanism anticipates, however, that its substantive strategies will have to be flexible and in order to adjust in accordance with developments in its investigations and realities on the ground.

The Mechanism is still at a very early stage of its operations and is fully cognizant of the challenges it faces in becoming fully functional. In this regard, it emphasizes the importance of cooperation with and the continued support of the international community, and looks forward to ongoing engagement with the Human Rights Council and the international community to that end.

I. Introduction

  1. The first report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar on the progress of its work since the Head of the Mechanism officially commenced his functions on 1 July 2019 is hereby submitted to the Human Rights Council.
  2. In its resolution 39/2 on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, adopted on 27 September 2018, the Human Rights Council established the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar with the mandate 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 these crimes, in accordance with international law.
  3. The Human Rights Council also decided that the Mechanism would be able to make use of the information collected by the independent international fact-finding mission, established by the Council in its resolution 34/22, and continue to collect evidence; have the capacity to document and verify relevant information and evidence, including through field engagement and by cooperating with other entities, as appropriate; and report on its main activities on an annual basis to the Human Rights Council as of its forty-second session and to the General Assembly as of its seventy-fourth session.
  4. In its resolution 73/264, the General Assembly welcomed the creation of the Mechanism and called for its expeditious entry into operation and steps to secure its effective functioning as soon as possible.
  5. In letters dated 16 January 2019 addressed to the President of the General Assembly (A/73/716) and to the President of the Human Rights Council, the Secretary-General set out the terms of reference of the Mechanism.
  6. On 2 April 2019, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Nicholas Koumjian (United States of America) as the Head of the Mechanism, who officially commenced his functions on 1 July 2019. At the time of writing, the recruitment process for the position of Deputy Head of the Mechanism was ongoing and at an advanced stage.
  7. Pursuant to paragraph 42 of the terms of reference, the Secretary-General determined that the seat of the Mechanism would be located in Geneva, and informed the President of the Human Rights Council accordingly in a letter dated 7 June 2019.

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