Junta issues order to ignore notifications from international courts

Myanmar’s military junta has ordered its staff not to receive any notifications issued by international courts seeking to prosecute junta leaders, a leaked official order has revealed.

The order, issued on Monday, tells staff not to accept any letter sent by the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the Argentinian Federal Court, both of which have opened cases against regime leaders for genocide and other major crimes against humanity.

In a memo regarding the order, Tun Tun Oo, a former general appointed by the regime to serve as Myanmar’s chief justice, instructed all members of the judiciary to ignore any warrant or summons sent by the courts.

The move comes as Argentina’s justice system agreed last month to investigate claims that coup regime leader Min Aung Hlaing and five other top generals committed war crimes during military operations targeting the Rohingya in 2017.

The first hearing in that case, which was brought forward by the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK, was held on December 16 and included testimony from the group’s chair, Tun Khin.

“The evidence against Min Aung Hlaing and the Myanmar military is overwhelming and irrefutable. They must answer for their crimes,” he was reported as saying.

“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,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP), another rights organisation that has sought to take legal action against Myanmar’s military leaders, announced that it had submitted evidence to the ICC of crimes committed by Min Aung Hlaing since he seized power in February.

“The leader of the illegal coup is criminally responsible for the security forces under his command committing mass atrocity crimes,” said Chris Gunness, the director of MAP.

“The prospects of a conviction are good and we believe that grounds for issuing an arrest warrant against Min Aung Hlaing are overwhelming,” he added.

The shadow National Unity Government (NUG), consisting mainly of elected members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) administration that was ousted by the coup, has also urged the ICC to try the junta’s leaders.

In August, the NUG announced that it had formally lodged a declaration with the court accepting its jurisdiction with respect to all international crimes in Myanmar since 2002.

That move came despite the former NLD government’s previous position rejecting an ICC decision in 2019 to investigate genocide charges against Myanmar’s military and civilian leaders.

At the time, NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi was among those named as responsible for crimes against the Rohingya, in cases laid at the International Court of Justice and in Argentina.  

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