What is the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (“Myanmar Mechanism”) doing regarding recent events in Myanmar since the military’s seizure of power?

The Myanmar Mechanism is closely following ongoing events, including reports regarding the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and the detention of political leaders, members of civil society and protesters. The United Nations Human Rights Council created the Myanmar Mechanism with the mandate to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of “the most serious international crimes and violations of international law” committed in Myanmar since 2011 and to build case files that can facilitate efforts to hold perpetrators responsible in national, regional or international courts or tribunals.  The most serious international crimes include genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, while the most serious violations of international law include the most serious violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law. Issues related to constitutional processes, elections and democracy are not within the scope of the Myanmar Mechanism’s work, but may fall within the mandate of other United Nations entities (see below).

How does the Myanmar Mechanism collect information and evidence related to events that are going on inside Myanmar?

The Myanmar Mechanism collects information and evidence from a wide variety of sources, including open sources in the public domain (for example, news reports and social media posts) and witnesses who have knowledge of information related to the events. To ensure the integrity of its investigations and to protect the security and privacy of its sources, the Myanmar Mechanism cannot disclose its investigative methodology in detail.

Why is the Myanmar Mechanism important?

In order to enable criminal proceedings in the future, it is important that evidence of serious international crimes and international law violations committed since 2011 in Myanmar is collected and preserved now. The passage of time and potential attempts to conceal or destroy evidence pose some of the biggest challenges to successful criminal prosecutions of serious international crimes. The Mechanism’s efforts to gather and preserve this valuable evidence will be crucial for future trials. In this regard, it is important to note that the Mechanism’s mandate is ongoing and that it continues to closely observe the situation in Myanmar. Should the most serious international crimes or violations of international law be committed, the Mechanism will gather the relevant evidence in order to facilitate any prosecutions of the persons responsible for such crimes. By aggressively pursuing its mandate, the Mechanism also hopes to deter crimes and help protect the population of Myanmar.

Where does the Myanmar Mechanism fit into the United Nations system? Who does it report to? How does it relate to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and other entities?

The Myanmar Mechanism is an independent entity created by the United Nations Human Rights Council and reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The Mechanism has a unique mandate that differs from other United Nations entities such as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Myanmar Mechanism’s mandate is neither to report or engage in advocacy on the human rights situation nor to make recommendations on how to improve the human rights situation. Rather, the role of the Mechanism is to collect and analyse evidence that can be used in criminal proceedings in national, regional or international courts or tribunals.

I’ve recently heard or read some information about the Myanmar Mechanism, how can I know if they are true?

The best way to obtain accurate information about the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, also known as the “IIMM” or the “Myanmar Mechanism” is to check the  Mechanism’s website, iimm.un.org or official Facebook page (facebook.com/MyanmarMechanism), where the Mechanism shares information about its mandate and work. Documents issued by the Mechanism, including statements, annual reports, bulletins and other public materials, are available on the Mechanism’s website and Facebook page. The Mechanism is not responsible for statements attributed to the Mechanism on other websites or social media platforms.

How can I share information and evidence with the Myanmar Mechanism?

The Myanmar Mechanism is interested in information that could prove individual criminal responsibility for the most serious international crimes or violations of international law committed in Myanmar from 2011 to the present. Please see resources in the ‘international legal framework’ page of our website for an explanation of what constitutes serious international crimes or violations of international law. Please also be aware that the Mechanism is regularly and closely following online news reports, so there is no need to forward to the Mechanism reports that are already on the internet.

If you believe you have information that could be useful to the Myanmar Mechanism, please contact us at  +41 76 691 12 08 via Signal or at iimm@un.org by email to discuss how such information can be shared securely, how it will be used and whether you would like your identity to be protected. Please include your contact details. The Mechanism also has a number of other encrypted means of communication for receiving information, which can be provided as needed. Your safety and security, and of all others with whom we interact, are very important to us. The Mechanism will not share the information you provide, or any information about your identity, without your consent.