The underground civilian administration is investigating and documenting junta massacres of civilians with the aim of bringing cases before the ICC and ICJ
Two ministers from Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) said in a press conference on Thursday that their administration was gathering information on crimes committed by the junta in Chin State to submit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Dr Sasa, the Minister of International Cooperation, said that the NUG is working collaboratively on the process with the Independent Investigative Mechanism Myanmar (IIMM) to share their documentation with the courts.
“We are doing all of these procedures along with the IIMM. We are also going to submit the evidence gathered by us and the IIMM to not only the ICC and the ICJ but also to other places such as Brazil, Australia and Germany where we can get international jurisdiction,” he explained.
Minister of Human Rights Aung Myo Min said that the violations would also be reported to the UN Security Council with the aim of convincing the body to approve sanctions on arms exports to the Myanmar junta.
“The NUG is filing reports and trying to bring about stronger action [against the junta], such as preventing airstrikes and stopping the imports of weapons and airplane fuel,” he said.
Among the crimes being investigated by the NUG is the massacre of 10 civilians in southern Chin State’s Matupi Township earlier this month after they were used as human shields by the military.
Relatives of two of the victims spoke at Thursday’s press conference, explaining how their loved ones were tortured and killed by Myanmar army troops, and cited eyewitness reports from those who recovered their bodies on January 8 and 9.
They said that the deceased were found blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs and with knife wounds to their necks and bodies.
“How could they be that cruel? They weren’t even resistance fighters. They were just innocent civilians. How will I ever be able to cope with this?” Thidar Htwe, whose husband Paw Va Htoo was among those murdered, said.
The youngest of the victims was La Nang, a 13-year-old boy. He was abducted and later killed while accompanying his brother on an errand to buy fuel, according to his father, Joseph.
“We waited three days for his return, because we hoped he would be spared as he was just a child. It is heartbreaking. I don’t think I will be able to withstand this pain,” Joseph said.
The military sent massive troop reinforcements to Matupi Township in early January, and serious clashes have been taking place between the military and the Chinland Defence Force across the state.
Similarly, the entire population of the Chin State town of Thantlang was displaced due to a military offensive and occupation of the area last year. Some 700 houses and seven religious buildings were destroyed over a three-month period ending in December.
Minister Aung Myo Min said that these acts were clearly war crimes, and that investigators had gathered sufficient evidence implicating both the military leaders who ordered the attacks and the troops who carried them out.
Citing figures compiled by the Chin Human Rights Organisation, the NUG stated that some 892 people had been arrested and 182 people killed in Chin State from the period following the February 1 coup until the end of 2021.
Some 50,000 Chin State residents were also displaced from their homes last year, and around 30 senior citizens died as a result of the forced relocation.
Similar rights violations have taken place in neighbouring Sagaing Region, where the military burned 11 civilians to death in Salingyi Township’s Done Taw village in December of last year.
The NUG is also planning to bring an international legal case against the Myanmar army for the Christmas Eve massacre of more than 30 people outside Moso village, in Karenni State’s Hpruso Township. The troops set fire to the victims’ bodies and the crime scene.