The Permanent People’s Tribunal on Myanmar, in session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18-22 September, has found the Myanmar government guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Rohingya, other Muslims and Kachin witnesses to the ongoing military assaults being carried out in the country gave three days of harrowing testimony on the crimes and oppression that they have suffered. They were supported by expert witness testimony as well as extensive written and video evidence presented by a team of prosecution lawyers.
The following are excerpts by Helen Jarvis, a member of the panel of judges, from the preliminary judgment. The seven-member panel concluded that the state of Myanmar is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of:
1. War crimes against the Kachin people, including the following acts: murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; taking of hostages and use of prisoners as “human shields”; passing of sentences and executions without proper trials; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population not taking direct part in hostilities and against churches, schools and sacred sites; pillaging; rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence.
2. Crimes against humanity against the Rohingya, other Muslim civilian populations in Myanmar and the Kachin, including: murder and extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population and the internal displacement and forced exile, imprisonment, denial of citizenship rights, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and apartheid.
3. Genocide against the Rohingya group and the intent to commit genocide against the Kachin people and the other Muslim groups.
The tribunal issued 17 recommendations, including:
A ceasefire package and demilitarisation with all armed groups in Rakhine state and the Myanmar military, including a demilitarised zone along the border.
The ending of Myanmar’s official discrimination and persecution of the Rohingya, Kachin, Myanmar Muslims and other groups and the extension of full citizenship to the Rohingya and other groups, ensuring all rights guaranteed by the treaties and conventions to which Myanmar is a party as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The abolition of military representation in parliament and the holding of fully democratic elections.
Amending the constitution to place the armed forces and police under full civilian authority.
The prosecution of perpetrators of human rights abuses, hate crimes, genocidal massacres, rape, torture, arson and ethnic and religious violence against the Rohingya, Kachin, Myanmar Muslims and other groups.
Recognising the capacity of the peoples in the different states to administer their own affairs consistent with commitment to a united, federal Myanmar.
Allowing humanitarian, human rights and religious organisations and journalists unobstructed access to Rakhine state and Rohingya refugees, and to areas with Kachin and other national groups.