Bid to cut fund­ing for UN probe fails

The Myanmar Times - - News - JOHN LIU

THE United Na­tions has chan­nelled fund­ing into a newly cre­ated ev­i­dence-gath­er­ing mech­a­nism tasked with in­ves­ti­ga­tions on in­ci­dents in Myan­mar, de­spite China’s at­tempt to half the fund­ing.

The UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s bud­get com­mit­tee ap­proved US$28 mil­lion (K52 bil­lion) for the mech­a­nism, with a mi­nor re­duc­tion of US$1 mil­lion from the orig­i­nal amount. China had called for the halv­ing of the pro­posed bud­get dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to rights ad­vo­cacy group, Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW).

Es­tab­lished in Septem­ber 2018, the in­de­pen­dent mech­a­nism “will be re­spon­si­ble for pre­par­ing case files to stan­dards re­quired for any fu­ture crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion in a na­tional or in­ter­na­tional court of law,” said Sean Bain, Yan­gon-based le­gal ad­viser with the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion of Jurists, adding that the ef­fort is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant as the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in north­ern Rakhine re­mains un­re­solved.

“Over time ev­i­dence de­te­ri­o­rates and mem­o­ries fade, so the mech­a­nism plays an im­por­tant role now in pre­serv­ing ev­i­dence for use in pos­si­ble fu­ture crim­i­nal tri­als, ei­ther in na­tional courts or an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal.

“Crit­i­cally, the mech­a­nism sends a mes­sage to per­pe­tra­tors that im­punity is not guar­an­teed, and this hope­fully de­ters the rep­e­ti­tion of crim­i­nal acts which con­sti­tute hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions,” Mr Bain ex­plained.

“As ma­jor pow­ers they [China and Rus­sia] be­lieve it is in their in­ter­est to re­solve con­flicts in coun­tries and re­gions that are im­por­tant to them ei­ther bi­lat­er­ally or with a small group of re­gional coun­tries. They don’t want the UN to play an im­por­tant role and par­tic­u­larly not where in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal ac­count­abil­ity is con­cerned,” Laeti­tia van den As­sum, mem­ber of the for­mer Kofi An­nan-led Rakhine Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion, told the Myan­mar Times.

As in­ter­na­tional pres­sure mounts over the north­ern Rakhine hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis, China has shielded Nay Pyi Taw from sanc­tions and “of­fered rhetor­i­cal and ma­te­rial sup­port” for Myan­mar, ac­cord­ing to a United States In­sti­tute of Peace re­port pub­lished in Septem­ber 2018.

Myan­mar, China, Rus­sia and In­dia have not rat­i­fied the Rome Statute of the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court, which pro­vides le­gal ground for the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court. None of them, along­side with Ja­pan, vote in favour of a hu­man rights-re­lated UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly res­o­lu­tion on Myan­mar held on De­cem­ber 22.

“Taken to­gether - China, Rus­sia, In­dia and Ja­pan - all have strong eco­nomic in­ter­ests in Myan­mar and they put these first.

“They be­lieve that in the longer-term, jus­tice, and their se­cu­rity and eco­nomic in­ter­ests, are bet­ter served by do­mes­tic pro­cesses that have been shown to have no le­git­i­macy,” the in­de­pen­dent diplo­matic ex­pert com­mented.

In Oc­to­ber last year, Bei­jing, backed by Moscow, at­tempted to stop a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil brief­ing ac­cus­ing Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary of geno­cide against the Mus­lims in north­ern Rakhine. The find­ings of the UN re­port were re­jected by Nay Pyi Taw.

Photo: EPA

Mem­bers of a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil team ar­rive at Sit­twe air­port in Rakhine in May 2018.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.