VOA News reports on Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance at the International Court of Justice to defend her government against accusations of genocide.
Though Aung San Suu Kyi is not directly responsible for the military, Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK argues the civilian government is also guilty of genocide.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is pursuing policies in the country which are killing Rohingya people every day. She’s denying them humanitarian aid from the international community. She’s restricting their access to health care. Rohingya children are not allowed access to higher education,” he said.
Anna Roberts, Burma Campaign UK’s Executive Director, is at The Hague for the start of the genocide case against Burma at the International Court of Justice. She joins Karen and Kachin community activists in support of the Rohingya and Burma’s ethnic groups in their struggle for justice.
Frontier Myanmar reports on national and international reaction to Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance at the International Court of Justice.
Although the ICJ has no punitive power, if Burma is found to have committed genocide, activists may renew calls for sanctions, including targeted measures against business connected to the military.
“If your business partner is on trial for genocide at one of the highest courts in the world, you might want to reconsider whether it’s a business relationship you should be in,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said in a press statement today.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, is among the experts asked by Dhaka Tribune what they think about Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to lead the Burmese government’s delegation to the International Court of Justice to answer the charge of genocide.
Mark Farmaner said: “The real problem with Aung San Suu Kyi is not just that she defends the actions of the military. As leader of the civilian government she is also pursuing racist genocidal policies against the Rohingya denying them rights, access to education, food, and healthcare. Her policies are killing people on a weekly basis.”
Eve Tahmincioglu, a business journalist writing for Directors & Boards journal, reports on the follow up to her interview with CEO Hikmet Ersek about Western Union’s first environmental, social and governance report.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told her: “I was surprised to see Hikmet Ersek describe his company as operating to the ‘highest ethical standards.’”
Tahmincioglu then asked Western Union if they are still using Myawaddy Bank, which is owned by the Burmese military. She was told “we are reviewing this matter”.
Western Union remains on Burma Campaign UK’s Dirty List while they do.
Myanmar Now reports that a popular American brewery with “ethical credentials”, the New Belgium Brewery, is voting on whether to sell up to a a subsidiary of Kirin, a company accused of funding the Burmese military’s abuses against ethnic minorities.
Kirin is on Burma Campaign UK’s Dirty List for partnering with Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, a military-owned conglomerate.
“If New Belgium employees vote to be part of Kirin, they will have as a business partner a military which rapes children and throws babies into burning homes,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.
Byline Times reports on the lawsuit that has just been filed by the Gambia with the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, formally accusing Burma of genocide.
“To date, the international community has pretty much ignored all the recommendations of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said. “More countries including the UK, EU, Canada and USA should be joining Gambia in this case.”
While Gambia’s ICJ filing may be unable to hold specific people to account, another case has been filed in Argentina naming top military and civilian leaders – including Aung San Suu Kyi – under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”. And the International Criminal Court has authorised prosecutors to begin investigating “crimes against humanity of deportation” across the Burma-Bangladesh border, as well as persecution on grounds of ethnicity.
Mark Farmaner said “It is critical that the UN Security Council refer Burma to the ICC so that all crimes committed by the military against all ethnic groups can be investigated, not just crimes against the Rohingya.”
In a strongly worded opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, writes:
“The change that so many hope to see in Myanmar will not come to fruition while the army retains its current dominance. Unchecked trade and investment with military companies will only further inflate its power which it is successfully wielding to obstruct democracy and commit atrocities against the people of Myanmar.
By imposing targeted sanctions and economically isolating the military, the international community has an opportunity to influence Myanmar’s downward trajectory. Now, more than ever, it is time to act.”
Overseas based Burma ethnic alliance and coalition groups issued statements welcoming Gambia’s lawsuit to the International Court of Justice for genocide against the Rohingya by the Burmese government.
Karen News quotes Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK: “These legal cases will help put the military on notice that they cannot continue to evade justice and accountability for their crimes. The British government must now support the genocide case at the International Court of Justice.”
Burma Campaign UK welcomes the decision of the International Criminal Court to go ahead with the investigation into alleged crimes against the Rohingya people from Burma. The Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party. Burma is not a State Party but Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010.
All in the same week, a universal jurisdiction case began yesterday in Argentina, and a case of genocide was filed at the International Court of Justice on Monday.