HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SUBMIT A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST BURMESE MILITARY GENERALS IN GERMAN COURT

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By Kantarawaddy Times

A file has been submitted at a German federal court to sue Burmese military generals, who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma, including atrocities committed in Karenni State.

On January 20, Fortify Rights and 16 people from Burma filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor General of Germany. The complaint relates to the Rohingya genocide and atrocity crimes committed following the 1 February 2021 military coup. The filing included a 215-page criminal complaint as well as over 1,000 additional pages of evidence meant to assist the Prosecutor to investigate the case.

U Banyar (source 1), director of the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG), said that the German federal court would officially announce whether to proceed investigation of this case within 3-months. He (source 1) noted that aim of attempting to charge the Burmese military generals in another country was to seek justice for all victims across Burma.

KnHRG has documented war crimes and serious human rights abuses committed by the Burma Army in Karenni State following the military coup. U Banyar (source 1) said that they documented and continuously report on these war crimes and serious human rights abuses because they want the international community to know about the situation in Karenni State. He (source 1) said that any investigation conducted by the German Prosecutor General would lead to accountability for these crimes.

“If the German Prosecutor investigates and ecides to prosecute the Burmese military generals, it will be the first step in getting accountability and justice for the crimes committed. The aim of trying to sue the Burmese military generals at court in Germany is to seek justice for all victims who were abused by the Burma Army,” he (source 1) told Kantarawaddy Times.

U Banyar (source 1) noted that the case filed with the German Prosecutor included evidence of atrocities committed by the Burma Army in Karenni State. Evidence from Karenni State included “the killing of nearly 40 civilians in Moso village, and the Burma Army’s fighter jet attack on the Reekeebu IDP camp,” he told Kantarawaddy Times.

According to Fortify Rights, the strategy behind this criminal complaint is that the German courts have in the past been willing to investigate cases under universal jurisdiction. “Universal jurisdiction is a legal principle enabling a state to prosecute individuals responsible for mass atrocity crimes—genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes—regardless of where the crimes occurred or the nationality of the perpetrator or victims,” says the 24 January 2023 press release from Fortify Rights.

“Under German law, the Prosecutor has the ultimate discretion to bring a case under universal jurisdiction [especially] when important witnesses to atrocities are present in Germany, which is the case regarding the complaint announced today,” read the Fortify Rights press release.

“If we win this case against Burmese military generals in the German federal court, these Burmese military generals will face the threat of being arrested and facing long prison sentences,” U Banyar (source 1) told Kantarawaddy Times.

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