The international people’s tribunal in Kuala Lumpur has declared that the Myanmar government is responsible for the recent genocide against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority Muslims.
A seven-member panel of judges of the Permanent People’s Tribunal announced the verdict on Friday, indicting the state of Myanmar for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
“The tribunal ruled that Myanmar is guilty of genocide against the people of Kachin and Muslim groups there,” said head judge Daniel Feierstein, who founded the Centre for Genocide Studies in Argentina, reading out the findings. The tribunal held the hearing for five days at the Universiti Malaya Legal Faculty moot court.
The judges unanimously announced, “On the strength of the evidence presented, the Tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the State of Myanmar has the intent to commit genocide against the Kachin people and the other Muslim groups.”
“Moreover, that genocide against the Rohingya is now taking place with ongoing acts of genocide and the possibility the casualties of that genocide could be even higher in the future if nothing is done to stop it.”
Over the past week, the tribunal heard and considered ‘documentary and expert evidence as well as the testimony of some 200 victims of the atrocities committed against the Rohingya, Kachin and other minority groups in Myanmar’, reports The Star online.
Of the 17 recommendations, announced afterwards by judge Gill H Boehringer, one was that the Myanmar government must cease the acts of violence against the Muslim minorities there.
“Visas and free access must be granted to the United Nation’s Fact Finding to probe the atrocities committed against the Rohingya, Kachin and other groups in Myanmar,” he said.
He added the Myanmar government must also amend its constitution and abolish discriminatory laws to give rights and citizenship to the oppressed minorities.
He said that the international community must provide financial help to countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia that are hosting the influx of refugees escaping the violence.
More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine and taken shelter in Bangladesh following the crackdown on 25 August.
He added that the tribunal’s findings, judgement and recommendations would be forwarded to international bodies and civil groups to pressure the Myanmar government to act accordingly.
Other members are: Zulaiha Ismail (Malaysia), Helen Jarvis (Cambodia-Australia), Gill H Boehringer (Australia), Nursyahbani Katjasungkana (Indonesia), Shadi Sadr (Iran) and Nello Rossi (Italy).
The Permanent People’s Tribunal was established in the line with Russel Tribunal II for Latin American dictatorship (1974-1976) in 1979 at Bologna, Italy. Since its journey, the PPT has held 43 sessions notably on the human rights violations that committed by the state actors.