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A UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission accused Myanmar’s military and security forces of genocide and war crimes against Royinghas and other ethnic minorities – calling their actions “the gravest crimes under international law.”
According to former Indonesian attorney general mission chair Marzuki Darusman, Myanmar’s military committed “shocking human rights violations,” showing “flagrant disregard for lives,” displaying “extreme levels of brutality.”
Its military shows “contempt for human life, dignity and freedom – for international law in general.”
“The Rohingya are in a continuing situation of severe systemic and institutionalized oppression from birth to death.”
Offenses cited include gang rape, torching villages, enslavement, massacres, false imprisonments, torture, and other crimes against humanity in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states.
The report called for a mechanism to hold Myanmar authorities accountable – including state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, complicit through silence and inaction.
The report said she
“has not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine State.”
“The Government and the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) have fostered a climate in which hate speech thrives, human rights violations are legitimized, and incitement to discrimination and violence facilitated.”
The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over the country because it’s not a Rome Statute signatory.
The universal jurisdiction principle (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.
Under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t, or hasn’t for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann.
A US court sentenced Chuckie Taylor, son of the former Liberian president, to 97 years in prison for torture.
Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, holding him under house arrest for 18 months.
Instead of prosecuting him for high crimes too grave to ignore, he was released and sent home, based on bogus ill health claims.
Under Article 7 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg:
“The official position of defendants, whether as Head of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.”
No one deserves immunity for high crimes demanding accountability. It’s time that standard applied to America, other NATO countries, Israel, and their imperial partners for high crimes too egregious to ignore.
Established by the Rome Statute in July 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is empowered to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes of war and against humanity.
The UN was created “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”
Its leadership did nothing to deter endless wars of aggression, human rights abuses, or other high crimes committed by powerful member states, notably Western ones, Israel, and their imperial partners, doing what they please, operating with impunity.
Nor has the ICC, functioning as an imperial tool, targeting officials of nations Washington and NATO want prosecuted, victims of US-led aggression.
The court, world body, and special international tribunals never sought to hold officials of Western nations, Israel, and their allies accountable for naked aggression and related high crimes too egregious to ignore.
Myanmar officials are easy targets. So were former Yugoslav officials Slobodan Milosevic and Ratko Mladic, Iraq’s deputy PM and foreign minister Tariq Aziz, Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, the DRC’s Jean-Pierre Bemba, Uganda’s Joseph Kony, and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, among others.
The highest of high crimes committed by Western and allied officials go unpunished.
Their adversaries and enemies are held accountable for crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide committed against their countries by foreign powers.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.