1. Ceasefire agreements are envisioned by academics as the first link in a chain between war and peace, creating space for negotiations to lead to long–lasting agreements. 1 However, it has not been the case for Burma commencing from the ceasefire made between the KIO and the military junta in 1994. The stated situation has continued to the case of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) emerged in 2015: a series of violations could not be dealt with effectively; human rights abuses remained unabated; and, the NCA never led the achievement
of long–lasting peace. In the aftermath of the military coup on February 1, 2021, the NCA unequivocally collapsed.
2. The stated situations occurred given the fact that the above ceasefire agreements did not adhere to, nor did they comply with, the rule of law including the rule of international law, particularly the Geneva Convention.
3. The ULA/AA and the Military Council reached a ceasefire agreement on November 26, 2022 again. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Burma and Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, who brokered to reach an agreement, used the term ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ in connection with another term, ‘general peace’.
4. Establishing a nexus between the ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ and ‘general peace’ by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa has become extremely controversial insofar as the entire peace seeking process would have been harmed. His articulation has created a serious challenge against the peremptory norms of general international law, jus cogens, under which all states, including Japan, are obligatory to hold the members of the military council led by Min Aung Hlaing accountable for their alleged commission of the gravest crimes of international concern.
5. Legal Aid Network urges Mr. Yohei Sasakawa and Japanese government not to take advantage of humanitarian needs of Rakhine people by portraying themselves as those who are peace makers of the entire country, Burma; and they should not attempt to extend similar practices in some more ethnic states/provinces by rhetorically articulating ‘humanitarian ceasefire’. Rather, as a developed, dignified and advanced democratic state, Japan should comply with, and implement, the international legal doctrine, jus cogens norms, instead of encouraging, recognizing and embedding the Military Council.
Legal Aid Network December 2, 2022
For more information, please contact;
Mr. Aung Htoo
Founder of Legal Aid Network (LAN) and Principal of Federal Law Academy
Tel: (46) 76 1156 215