Buenos Aires, Dec 2 (Sputnik) .- More than 17,000 kilometers separate Burma (Myanmar) from Argentina, but that distance is reduced to zero when universal justice intervenes, a legal principle recognized by international law that allows a State to investigate crimes committed in another nation regardless of where or against whom they were perpetrated.
Argentina, which includes this principle in its Constitution, thus once again shines with its own light. The only country in the world that has judged the crimes of the Spanish dictatorship (1939-1975) since 2010, and that prosecuted for the first time a Francoist leader, Rodolfo Martín Villa, turns its eyes today on the Rohingya.
The United Nations even said that this ethnic, linguistic and religious minority was one of the most persecuted peoples in the world, without friends and without land. But an Argentine court of second instance has broken this axiom, by ordering that the crimes perpetrated against this Muslim community be investigated.
Last Friday, the National Chamber of Criminal and Correctional Appeals reversed a resolution of the Federal Criminal and Correctional Court No. 1, headed by Judge María Servini, who had rejected the request to investigate the crimes committed against six Rohingya women raped and tortured in August 2017. Some also refer to the murder of their children and husbands.
“This is the first time that an independent and impartial court is going to carry out a criminal investigation into the genocide against the Rohingya”, reveals during an interview with the Sputnik Agency the plaintiff lawyer Tomás Ojea Quintana, United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma between 2008 and 2014.
While waiting for the judge to decide whether to lead the investigation or refer it to the prosecution, the complaint will seek that the president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization (Brouk) based in London, Tun KhiTom Kin, and the six survivors testify as witnesses, who are housed in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“Many possibilities are open to advance in justice,” encourages the plaintiff lawyer. “The victims can give their testimony and later the Argentine justice could determine if there is an identified accused who can be requested to arrest. Our objective goes in that direction, and many, many instances will be opened along the way ».
Although there is no extradition treaty between Argentina and Burma, the Argentine courts can issue international arrest warrants through Interpol.
“The opening of the investigation is a vindication of the Rohingya for the terrible crime of genocide they suffered,” says Ojea Quintana. «It is also a recognition of their identity. It carries a very deep meaning that is restorative and allows us to have expectations of obtaining new elements in pursuit of truth, memory and justice for this community.
The complaint that gave rise to the case includes all the Rohingya who were victims of the Burmese repression between 2012 and 2017, but the complaint is impelled, initially, to limit the investigation to the six women, who are originally from the village of Tula Toli, in the state of Raikán (west).
That place “was very paradigmatic with respect to the atrocious crimes committed by the military outposts,” emphasizes Ojea Quintana.
The criminal complaint, filed in November 2019, has identified several of the military personnel who perpetrated the massacres, including the de facto leader who has governed the country since February 1, Min Aung Hlaing,
This general “is mentioned for his responsibility over the power apparatus, being one of the masterminds of the genocide,” observes the former rapporteur. Also mentioned are the “officers in charge of the battalions who entered the different villages, and who are direct perpetrators of the atrocities.”
The complaint also calls for progress on the accomplices who contributed to persecuting the Rohingya, including the Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who generated a campaign of hatred against this community.
The Rohingya, who make up 4 percent of the Burmese population within a country of 60 million people, are stateless within their own territory. They cannot vote or be elected. They do not have the right to own land or property, and they cannot travel or marry without permission from the authorities.
Muslims in a Buddhist-majority country, the Rohingya have been discriminated against since the nation achieved independence in 1948.
Since 2012, and with special emphasis as of 2017, this community was subjected to an attempted genocide, according to the United Nations. Some 25,000 people were killed and 19,000 women and adolescents were raped.
The repression by the Burmese leadership in 2017, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, led some 725,000 survivors, 70 percent of the Rohingya population, to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where they ended up in refugee camps. . (Sputnik)
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Argentina comes to the aid of the Rohingya, the most abandoned people in the world