The mandate of the Mechanism is to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011. It is further mandated to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.
The Mechanism will only share information if it is confident that the entity receiving the material will protect witnesses and sources of information and respect any commitment to confidentiality made by the Mechanism. It will only share files with courts or tribunals that comply with international human rights law and standards, and where capital punishment will not be imposed or carried out.
The Human Rights Council adopted resolution 39/2 establishing the Mechanism in September 2018. The establishment of the Mechanism was subsequently welcomed by the General Assembly in December 2018 in resolution 73/264. In resolution 42/3 adopted in August 2019, the Human Rights Council called upon the United Nations to “ensure that the Mechanism is afforded the necessary support and resources it needs in terms of staffing, location and operational freedom so it can deliver as effectively as possible on its mandate.” In resolution 74/246 adopted in December 2019, the General Assembly further called upon the United Nations to “ensure that the Independent Mechanism is afforded the flexibility that it needs in terms of staffing, location and operational freedom so it can deliver as effectively as possible on its mandate” and also urged the Mechanism to swiftly advance its work. The Mechanism has embarked on recruiting the staff needed to discharge its mandate successfully. It has received the material collected by the International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) and initiated discussions with governments, non-governmental organisations, academics, other UN entities, businesses and technical experts to collect evidence and information. The Mechanism is also building the necessary cooperative frameworks with key actors, including information providers; establishing internal protocols necessary for conducting fair and independent investigations in a complex environment; and devising investigative strategies. The Mechanism aims to use the latest expertise and technologies in carrying out multi-faceted investigations.