Calls for Criminal Indictment of Junta Leaders Gain Momentum
26 November 2009: Calls to indict members of Burma’s military junta for crime against humanity and war crimes gained momentum this week as a number of high profile British Parliamentarians urged the British Government to take the repressive Southeast Asian regime to task for human rights violations.
An Early Day Motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael is calling on the British Government to urge the United Nations to establish a Commission of Inquiry with a mandate to investigate allegations of serious human rights abuses ranging from state-sponsored sexual violence against women, enforced disappearances to institutionalized forced labor. An Early Day Motion (EDM), is a kind of parliamentary petition.
“It is very encouraging that many MPs from across party lines support this Motion. For many years, the UN has ignored its own evidence of widespread and systematic human rights violations in Burma. It is the time for the UN to take action,” says Nang Seng, Campaign Officer at the Burma Campaign UK.
The petition is the latest in a growing effort on the international stage to put pressures on Burma’s ruling military regime, which has been accused of committing some of the most serious crimes that could constitute crime against humanity and war crimes under international law.
The special committee of the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week renewed its condemnation of Burma’s human rights practice expressing its ‘grave concerns’ at the continuing trend of serious and systematic violations.
The Interantional Labor Organization (ILO) is also considering a move to refer Burma to the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations for its serious breach of labor rights.
In September, 75 Canadian MPs from across party lines had collectively called for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry on Burma. Canada currently has one of the most stringent sanctions against Burma.
In May this year, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released a report about crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. The report was commissioned by five of the world’s leading jurists and analyzed UN documents on human rights violations in Burma. The report found that human rights abuses in Burma are widespread, systematic, and part of state policy and suggests Burma’s military regime may be committing crimes against humanity and war crimes prosecutable under international law.