London, 24 March, 2022: The Myanmar Accountability Project, MAP, will lodge a criminal file for torture against members of the Myanmar junta at the Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul on 29 March 2022.
“This is the first case to be initiated in a national court outside Myanmar into crimes that have been committed inside the country since the coup in February last year,” said MAP Director, Chris Gunness. “ The case relates to torture which took place in the notorious, Ye Kyi Ain interrogation centre in northern Yangon. We will be sending the names of specific torturers to the Turkish authorities and requesting that Interpol arrest them. Criminal responsibility also rests with members of the illegal military regime, including the leader of the failed coup, Min Aung Hlaing.”
Since the coup, the use of torture has become widespread and systematic, raising it to the level of international crimes. A report by the UN Human Rights Council found that since the coup, 325 people including 26 children had been tortured to death. The report concluded that “hundreds, if not thousands, have been subjected to torture.”
Chief legal Counsel for MAP, Gülden Sönmez, said the prospects for this “universal jurisdiction case in Turkey are good. The legal basis for a prosecution is sound. The evidence is very solid and with so much sympathy in Turkey for the people of Myanmar, dating back to the geocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims in 2017, the political environment is also sympathetic to a conviction,” she said.
“The message from this case in Turkey to the leaders of Myanmar’s failed coup is that you will be held accountable for your crimes and that you will face justice,” said Gunness. “You should take steps to get on the right side of the law. Stop the torture. Stop the crimes against humanity. And to the lower ranking members of the security forces, I say that your actions are being monitored. You too will be held to account.”
Later in the year, MAP will be initiating cases against the Myanmar junta in France and in the East Asia region.