Int’l bodies gather evidences of Myanmar genocide

At least four international organizations have been documenting hundreds of evidences of genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar Army and other concerned high up people. Based on the evidences now being collected the International Court of Justice ICJ and International Criminal Court ICC would continue their trials at The Hague in Netherlands, sources said.

Out of the four organizations, three are from the UN. The one from the US state department have completed their first round of documentation of offences and also submitted the reports to their respective authorities. The International Criminal Court is also working on the ground now.

The organizations have collected in various form evidences which could be the basis of the case trials of genocide accused against Myanmar filed in the top United Nations court – the International Court of Justice ICJ in The Hague by an African nation Gambia. Mahbubul Alam Talukder, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner RRRC in Cox’s Bazar said that the ICC team is working independently with Rohingyas in camps at the request of Bangladesh foreign ministry. We just inform the officials of international court about the genocide.

‘The work of ICC is highly confidential,’ said a RRRC top official adding that others are also working with equal freedom. In an Argentine law suit the ICC has approved a full investigation into Myanmar's alleged crimes against the Rohingya. In November 2019, ICC judges backed a prosecution request to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and persecution over Myanmar's bloody 2017 military crackdown against the majority-Muslim group.

In March 2017, the UN Human Rights Council HRC established a three-member Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar IIFFMM headed by Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, since 2011 in Myanmar.

The Human Rights Council of the UN in 2018 established another body the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar IIMM. It is mandated to collect evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law and prepare files for criminal prosecution, making use of the information handed over to it by the IIFFMM.

The IIMM became operational on 30 August 2019 as the mandate of the IIFFMM has ended in September 2019. Adocate Raziya Ahamed Mimi working for the UN fact finding mission in Cox’s Bazar told Bangladesh Post, “The mission collected a vast amount of primary information. It conducted 875 in-depth interviews with victims and eyewitnesses, both targeted and randomly selected, now living in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

“It obtained satellite images and authenticated a range of documents, photographs and videos,” she said adding, “Discriminatory treatment began on Rohingyas long before 2012. The extreme vulnerability of the Rohingya is a consequence of state policies and practices implemented over decades, steadily marginalizing them. The result is a continuing situation of severe, systemic and institutionalized oppression.”

Since the IIMMFF handed over its final report of evidence to the IIMM in September 2019, the IIMM would begin accepting relevant material from interested individuals, groups and organizations. The US state department has appointed two renowned International law firms - Public International Law and Diplomacy Groups PILPG and University of Southern California USC- Soha Foundation to investigate the oppression against Rohingyas in 2016 and 2017.

From March to April 2018, PILPG’s investigators collected 1,024 interviews of Rohingya refugees in 34 refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. A team of experienced investigators systematically conducted such a large number of interviews using random sampling protocols allowed by PILPG.

The firm provided quantitative data from the interviews to the US State Department, which is captured in its report ‘Documentation of Atrocities’ in Northern Rakhine State. Abu Rehan, a volunteer of PILPG told this correspondent, “We collected data from the survivors in individual form, where we were posted to collect data on the alleged atrocities.” USC- Shoah Foundation has interviewed nearly 100 Rohingyas at the refugee camps in Bangladesh.