A human rights organization and 16 people from Myanmar filed a “criminal complaint” in Germany to demand the punishment of Myanmar army generals for allegations of their involvement in “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity”, after the seizure of power in 2021, and during a crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
“The individuals responsible for these crimes have not yet been held accountable,” said Fortify Rights, which filed the complaint, which was announced yesterday in Bangkok. The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which received the complaint on Friday, declined to comment on it.
The public prosecutor will decide whether to file an indictment before the complaint reaches court, a process that can take a long time.
The steps taken by Myanmar’s army generals are under investigation by the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice is also considering the involvement of their generals in genocide.
Cases in local courts
But activists seeking to hold the generals accountable have also filed lawsuits in local courts in Argentina and Turkey under the concept of “universal jurisdiction”. The complaint was filed in Germany days before the second anniversary of the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, and the overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi is serving a 33-year prison sentence for crimes widely believed to have been staged to legitimize military rule.
The complaint in Germany comes more than five years after security forces brutally dealt with Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
About 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh in search of safety, after burning their villages and committing mass murder and rape against them.
The Myanmar military has been accused of carrying out similar atrocities against coup opponents across the country. Half of the 16 citizens who filed a criminal complaint in Germany are Rohingya, and were subjected to brutal acts of violence, while the second half were subjected to violations after the army seized power in 2021.
• Some 740,000 Rohingya fled to the neighboring country of Bangladesh in search of safety, after their villages were burned and murders committed against them.