1. The present report covers the activities carried out by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar between1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023.
2. In its resolution 39/2 of 27 September 2018, the Human Rights Council established the Mechanism with a 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. In its resolution 73/264 of 22 December 2018, the General Assembly welcomed the establishment of the Mechanism. In its resolution 43/26 of 22 June 2020, the Council specifically called for the Mechanism to engage in close and timely cooperation on future investigations by, among others, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.
3. Four years after it became operational, the Mechanism continues to actively monitor the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and to collect, analyse and share evidence of the most serious international crimes committed in Myanmar. The military continues to carry out widespread and systematic attacks on the civilian population and the armed conflict substantially intensified during the reporting period. In this context, the Mechanism is strategically focusing its investigations on specific incidents where the impact on victims is the most severe. A major focus remains on investigating crimes against the Rohingya, especially those committed during the 2016 and 2017 “clearance operations” carried out by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine State.
4. The Mechanism operates in a challenging environment with no physical access to crime sites or witnesses inside Myanmar and has serious witness protection concerns. To compensate, the Mechanism is adopting innovations and leveraging the use of advanced technologies and modern investigative approaches to enable the collection of evidence. The Mechanism continues to reach out to authorities in Myanmar to seek their cooperation as called for by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, but to date, all requests for access to the territory, cooperation and information have gone unanswered.
5. During the reporting period, the Mechanism significantly increased the number of investigative missions and direct engagements with witnesses and survivors. The investigation of sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children remains a high priority. The Mechanism is also fully integrating the collection and analysis of open source and financial information and evidence in all of the Mechanism’s investigations. Throughout the year, the Mechanism engaged closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including witnesses, survivors, civil society organizations, Member States, United Nations entities and business entities, in order to strengthen partnerships and cooperation in support of justice and accountability for the crimes committed in Myanmar. The Mechanism is very grateful for the cooperation received from witnesses and survivor groups, which reflects the courage and dedication of the people of Myanmar to the fight against impunity.