Istanbul, 29 March, 2022: This is the first case to be brought in a foreign jurisdiction for crimes committed by the Myanmar junta since the coup in 2021. The complaint was filed at the Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul by the Lawyer, Gülden Sönmez, acting for MAP on behalf of victims who were tortured at the notorious Ye Kyi Ain “Interrogation Centre” in Yangon.
“The military junta acted in a strict chain of command, committing crimes in a systematic, widespread and pre-planned manner,” said Gülden Sönmez. “Turkey is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and an investigation must be initiated based on universal jurisdiction against the generals and commanders involved in these crimes, as well as those who actually committed the torture.”
In the file lodged with the Turkish authorities, evidence of severe torture has been presented along with the identities of named perpetrators. MAP and Ms Sonmez are demanding that those responsible should be arrested and extradited to Turkey to face justice and in order to prevent ongoing crimes.
“Turkey showed great sensitivity to the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims in 2017,” said MAP Director, Chris Gunness, who was in Istanbul for the case, “and there is growing support here, not just for humanitarian intervention, but for targeted legal action against the Myanmar Generals for the atrocity crimes they and their henchmen are committing on a daily basis.”
Turkey has been supportive of the genocide case against the Myanmar junta at the International Criminal Court in the Hague and the Turkish government voted for robust UN General Assembly action in a strongly worded resolution in June last year which condemned the coup and called on UN member states to impose a global arms embargo. The government in Ankara has also supported the decision of the UN General Assembly to deny recognition to the Myanmar junta.
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.”
“The absence of meaningful action to prevent these ongoing crimes makes universal jurisdiction cases even more important,” according to Gunness. “The Security Council has been hamstrung by the threat of Russian and Chinese vetos and ASEAN has been hopelessly divided. In this context, it is vitally important that UN member states, such as Turkey, support criminal accountability in their national courts.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Turkish: Lawyer Gülden Sönmez +90 533 581 78 54
English: Chris Gunness +44 7587 698990
Arabic: Alaaeddin Mohsen +90 538 555 70 43