Ending impunity for gross human rights violations in Myanmar

At the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today highlighted the need for a range of measures to effectively address the continuing impunity for gross violations of human rights in Myanmar.

The oral statement, which was delivered in an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, read as follows:

“The ICJ welcomes and shares the concerns of the final report of the previous Special Rapporteur Ms Yanghee Lee, particularly with the lack of accountability for gross human rights violations against Myanmar’s ethnic minorities.

The ICJ recalls Myanmar’s international human rights obligations, including under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice in The Gambia v. Myanmar case.

The ICJ underscores that directives enjoining government officials from engaging in further acts of genocide are not sufficient without comprehensive legal and constitutional reform to end impunity. This includes the amendment of laws such as the 1959 Defence Services Act and the 2014 Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law.

National institutions continue to fail to conduct credible investigations into allegations of widespread human rights violations by the military against ethnic minorities. The final report of the Independent Commission of Enquiry, which was not made public, was transmitted to the Attorney General and the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar’s Armed Forces, implying that military courts will take jurisdiction over at least some of the cases, inconsistent with Principle 29 of the UN Principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity (UN doc E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1/).

Mr Andrews, as the new mandate-holder, the ICJ would like to invite you to elaborate on your priorities and strategies for addressing the continuing impunity for such violations in Myanmar.”

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