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Buenos Aires court to open case against Burmese military, raises hope of justice for Rohingya

Argentina’s judiciary has announced that it is to start proceedings in a case brought by the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) against the Burmese military over its campaign of genocide against Burma’s Rohingya population.

On Friday, the Federal Criminal Court in Buenos Aires said it was to launch a case against senior members of the military—including Min Aung Hlaing and much of the current SAC—under the principle of universal jurisdiction, saying that “the gravity of the facts and the violation of ius cogens norms permits that those facts are investigated in our country”.

BROUK says it is to gather evidence—whilst having recourse to findings of the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar—to establish responsibility for both the past and present crimes committed by the Burmese military in Rakhine State. The group says it is requesting INTERPOL prepares international arrest warrants for those implemented by the court.

“For decades, Myanmar officials have with impunity tried to wipe the Rohingya out as a people. Justice is the only way to break the cycle of violence, and with Myanmar both unwilling and unable to investigate itself, the international community must step in,” said Tun Khin, president of BROUK.

The case is the world’s first brought on the grounds of universal jurisdiction, and the second investigation launched into the Burmese military after Gambia brought proceedings against Burma for violating the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in November 2019. The ICC had approved such an investigation in the same month.

The UN’s Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar specifically recommended that states pursue universal jurisdiction cases in getting accountability for the Rohingya victims of Tatmadaw violence.


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