Myanmar war crimes report spotlights transitional justice

03 December 2014 by Paul Vrieze, Rangoon (Myanmar)

A recent independent report finds three senior military officers could be held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Myanmar army personnel during an offensive against ethnic armed groups in the east of the country.

Last month, the International Human Rights Clinic at the Harvard School of Law published a legal memorandum finding sufficient evidence to satisfy the standards set by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report named the three officers, including current home affairs minister Major-General Ko Ko.  

The army’s counterinsurgency policies occurred during a 2005-2008 offensive targeting the ethnic civilian population. Some 42,000 ethnic Karen were displaced in an effort to deprive rebels of support. 

Lead researcher Matthew Bugher explained to IJT that the report was published to “help facilitate conversations about Myanmar’s past and on-going human rights abuses”, while also warning current army commanders that “they too could be held responsible for abuses”. 

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