Interview statements from witnesses are valuable sources of information and crucial to building criminal cases to hold perpetrators of serious international crimes accountable.

Anyone with sensitive information should first approach the Mechanism to discuss how to communicate securely.

The Mechanism aims to avoid duplicating statements to not cause further harm to witnesses already interviewed by other organizations. When a statement is taken by the Mechanism, it is done by a team of lawyers and investigators with the support of a Myanmar language interpreter where needed. The witness is encouraged to ask questions, and raise any issues related to their security or well-being.

The team listens to the experience of the witness and asks follow-up questions so that the information is clearly understood. To ensure it is captured accurately, the completed statement is read back, and the witness then signs it. In-person interviews which result in signed witness statements are the most likely to be admissible in any court or tribunal.

The Mechanism securely and confidentially stores witness statements to ensure safety and privacy. Statements will only be shared with relevant courts or tribunals with the informed consent of the person who was interviewed.

Protection and support

The protection and support of witnesses is the Mechanism’s priority.

The Mechanism provides specialized expertise on protection, as well as psychosocial support. It takes all possible steps within its means, and through referrals to support organizations, to help ensure the safety, security and well-being of witnesses during and as a result of their cooperation with the Mechanism. However, the Mechanism does not have the mandate or powers to provide physical security or guarantee the safety of witnesses.

The Mechanism also integrates a victim-centered approach throughout its investigative activities to ensure, as much as possible, that no further harm is caused. Its specialists assess needs, identify and minimize risks, and foster a supportive and empowering environment – particularly for witnesses who were victims of sexual and gender-based crimes or crimes against children.