BROUK President highlights Tatmadaw crimes as genocide trial opens
16 December 2021
The opening testimony in the first-ever universal jurisdiction case on the Rohingya genocide highlighted vicious abuses by the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar military), including widespread sexual violence, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) said.
Tun Khin, President of BROUK, today took the stand at the Federal Court in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This marked the opening of the case that the Argentinian judiciary decided to open in November under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, which holds that some crimes are so horrific that they can be tried anywhere.
“Today was a landmark day for Rohingya people everywhere and our long to end the genocide the genocide. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to testify in a court of law about the plight of our people. This case will not finish over night, but I am confident that justice will prevail in the end,” said Tun Khin.
In his testimony, Tun Khin highlighted his own personal history and the decades-long repression Rohingya has faced in Myanmar. He also brought the court’s attention to a range of crimes committed by the Tatmadaw and its proxies during the violence against Rohingya in Rakhine State from August 2017.
One example is the Chut Pyin massacre, when soldiers killed hundreds of people and engaged in sexual violence in a brutal attack on a Rohingya village in Rakhine State on 27 August 2017. Six women who were victims of or witnessed sexual violence during the massacre are witnesses in BROUK’s case.
The court also heard the names of those ultimately responsible for the violence, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other senior Tatmadaw officials who have been identified by the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.
Tun Khin also underlined the harmful role of Facebook during the violence in 2017, when hate speech against the Rohingya was spread unchecked on the platform. Earlier in December, Rohingya victims sued the social media company for more than £150 billion due to its failure to contain hate speech and misinformation.
“This is the start of a court case that we ultimately hope will end with the architects of the Rohingya genocide behind bars. We will focus on identifying perpetrators of these crimes, right up to Myanmar’s senior military leadership,” said Tun Khin.
“The evidence against Min Aung Hlaing and the Myanmar military is overwhelming and irrefutable. They must answer for their crimes. It is important to remember that this is not just about the Rohingya people’s quest for justice, but for all people of Myanmar who have suffered at the hands of the military, not least since the coup this year.”
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