The Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) – a human rights law organization – contracted by the US State Department to investigate the possibility of genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has called for an immediate establishment of a criminal tribunal to bring perpetrators to justice. According to the law group, there is evidence to believe that the Myanmar military committed crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide against the Rohingya. The conclusions are based on the research done among more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh.
PILPG’s usage of the word ‘genocide’ is meant to urge US President Donald Trump to act and impose sanctions on Myanmar. “The international community is obliged to protect populations subjected to atrocity crimes by their own governments and ensure justice and accountability for such crimes,” the report said. PILPG called for the urgent establishment of an “accountability mechanism” or another platform – such as hybrid, domestic or ad hoc tribunal – linked to the International Criminal Court or another international body. Myanmar’s military denies the accusations of genocide and says that the measures are part of a fight against terrorism.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington also said earlier this week that there is compelling evidence that points out to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The evidence speaks to mass killings and gag rapes. PILPG says that five generals should be prosecuted under international law. The European Union has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on a few military officials. It was only last month, following a four-day fact-finding mission to the country, that Brussels was also considering imposing new trade sanctions on Myanmar.
In a move that could threaten lucrative clothing industry, EU Commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, said in a statement at the end of the visit that the EU was considering removing the tariff-free access to European markets that Myanmar currently receives via the Everything But Arms (EBA) program. “We have worked to ensure that trade preferences and access to the EU market are an incentive to promote fundamental human and labor rights,” Ms Malmström comments. “We now expect Myanmar to address the severe shortcomings that have been highlighted during this monitoring mission. If they do not act, Myanmar authorities are putting their country’s tariff-free access to the EU market in danger.”