Argentinian court hears Rohingya genocide case in Myanmar

Argentina’s judicial authority has agreed to open a genocide case due to Rohingya victim of atrocities committed by MyanmarThe army, in a move hailed by victims and their supporters as a historic step toward bringing the country’s ruling generals to justice.

The case is led by a group of British-based Rohingya and six female survivors of a 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, in Buenos Aires, where security forces have killed thousands. carried out the rapes and brought about 750,000 members of a long-suppressed minority group to Bangladesh.

“We will be looking for concrete results on accountability and punishment for those who participated directly and indirectly in the genocide,” Tomás Ojea Quintana, the plaintiff’s attorney, told the Financial Times. . “We want to identify the perpetrators and try to bring them to justice in Argentina.”

Quintana said that the victims “really wanted factual testimony” from senior military leadership, including Min Aung Hlaing, the army commander who oversaw the 2017 crackdown in Rakhine and who turned over overthrow the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup in February.

The case, although set to be heard worldwide from Myanmar, is brought under general jurisdiction, under the principle that particularly serious crimes can be tried anywhere.

“We applaud the Argentinian judiciary for showing courage and moral leadership to deal with this case,” said Tun Khin, president of the United Kingdom’s Rohingya Organization, which launched the case. job, said in an emailed statement. “Justice for decades of dehumanizing and killing Rohingya in Myanmar is now within reach.”

The case, for which pretrial hearings began in 2019, is part of international push by human rights groups and the United Nations to gather evidence and begin seeking justice for military crimes, including the 2017 crackdown in Rakhine and the killing, imprisonment and torture of thousands people since the February coup. The court heard pre-trial video testimony from female victims in Bangladesh but Tun Khin said an important part of the process was ensuring that the victims were able to testify in Argentina.

He said his team will also ask the court to request information from social media companies, in particular. Facebook, regarding “hate speech spreading on their platforms may contribute to a hostile environment against the Rohingya”.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague heard a genocide case brought by the Gambia against Myanmar in 2019, of which Aung San Suu Kyi testified.

“This development brings the prospect of justice even closer to the Rohingya, something that seemed almost impossible just a few years ago,” said Kingsley Abbott of the International Commission of Jurists. “That’s exactly how global jurisdiction works when crimes involving all of humanity are committed around the world, so Argentina should be commended for taking this important step.” .

However, he said Argentina would need “large amounts of assistance” in pursuing the case from civil society groups and the United Nations. investigative mechanism for Myanmar, and one of the biggest challenges will come if an arrest warrant is issued.

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