Statement by Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar
Geneva, 25 August 2023 – Today marks six years since hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar for refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. It has been six years since Rohingya men, women and children were subjected to an escalation of violence and atrocities by Myanmar security forces that resulted in the loss of their loved ones and homes. Yet six years later, no one has been held accountable for these crimes.
The United Nations Human Rights Council created our Mechanism to work for justice. We are collecting and analysing evidence of the most serious international crimes committed in Myanmar since 2011, including against the Rohingya. We are collecting testimonies and other evidence about the physical violence inflicted on so many Rohingya people and have also begun a dedicated enquiry into the businesses, farms and other property that was taken away from them. We want to see if there was a financial motivation behind these crimes and determine who profited from the campaign against the Rohingya.
We are also finalizing new analytical reports to share with relevant authorities to support their understanding of grave crimes committed against the Rohingya. These include reports focused on the military chain of command in Rakhine state, the failure of Myanmar authorities to investigate or punish sexual and gender-based crimes, and the organized spread of hate speech content on Facebook by a network of Myanmar military before, during and after the 2017 clearance operations.
We share evidence and analysis, when we have the consent of those that gave us the information, to support the investigations which are underway at the International Criminal Court and in Argentina, and the ongoing proceedings in the case of The Gambia vs. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice.
The mandate of the Mechanism does not stop with investigating those that “pulled the trigger” but includes anyone, no matter how powerful. Our work is dependent on the information we receive from courageous individuals – survivors, witnesses and members of the security forces who may have information about illegal orders or commands. We call on those with relevant information to contact us using secure channels.
We also call on States to provide us with access to witnesses and information in their territories. The pursuit of justice for the Rohingya is a global effort. Only together can we ensure that those responsible will face the consequences, and that those who have suffered the horror of these crimes will see justice served.
Listen in the Rohingya language.
Information on how to communicate securely and confidentially with the Mechanism can be found at https://iimm.un.org/contact-us/confidential-and-sensitive-communications/
The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM or Mechanism) was created by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018 to collect and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes and other violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011. It aims to facilitate justice and accountability by preserving and organizing this evidence and preparing case files for use in future prosecutions of those responsible in national, regional and international courts. For more information visit https://iimm.un.org/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org