Following the submission of the first report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to the Human Rights Council on 7 August 2019, the Secretary-General deemed the Mechanism operational as at 30 August 2019. In its first year of operations, the Mechanism has been focused on ramping up its operations and activities on various fronts, including its operational and administrative processes, its engagement with relevant entities and stakeholders, and the implementation of its substantive mandate. Significant progress has been made in all of these areas, which will be elaborated upon in the present report.
Adjustments to the Mechanism’s plans became necessary, however, following the emergence of the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic forced disruptions in the Mechanism’s onboarding of staff and its operational plans for 2020. It has also created some uncertainty regarding its operations for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, particularly with respect to its ability to conduct missions for engagement and evidence-collection purposes. Nonetheless, since the onset of the pandemic, the Mechanism has largely been able to continue its work by adjusting and adapting its operations and processes in accordance with the changes in circumstances. The Mechanism will continue to do so and will implement its mandate to the best of its ability despite ongoing restrictions and limitations.
Moving forward, the Mechanism will seek to further expand its collection, preservation and analysis activities, which will be supported by missions if circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic allow. It will also seek to expand the procurement of the necessary technical equipment, software and specialized capabilities. In addition, the Mechanism will remain proactive in sharing evidentiary materials with courts and tribunals when all appropriate conditions, including the safety, security and privacy of information providers, are satisfied. Finally, the Mechanism will continue to implement its engagement and public outreach strategy in order to provide up-to-date and accurate information regarding the Mechanism to its various stakeholders.
In order to deliver on its mandate, the Mechanism will continue to assess the relevant circumstances, including with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic; review its methodology and practices; and strengthen its operations through creative and flexible solutions. Ultimately, the Mechanism aims to resolve the various challenges that are likely to arise and collect all relevant evidence in an efficient and effective manner, in order to enable perpetrators of serious international crimes in Myanmar to be brought to justice.