Legal Perspective Information Sheet as of 7 February 2022, Permanent Mission of Myanmar, New York
The purpose of publishing this information sheet is to increase the awareness of people about the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes committed by the military junta terrorists on a daily basis and to keep a record of their brutal acts for future reference and proceedings. Due to space limitations, only a selection of committed crimes are stated in this information sheet.
Following a year under the illegal coup, the inhumane Myanmar military, under the name of the so-called State Administration Council, has been continuously conducting enormous numbers of crimes against civilians and seriously violating domestic and international laws. Throughout this period, it has been continuously intensifying efforts in various forms to suppress the anti-military movements.
1) Massacre in Myinmu, Sagaing Region
On 31 January 2022, two helicopters of the military carried about 40 troops while a fighter jet opened fire and dropped around 6 bombs on Pa Dat Taing Village in Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region. The troops occupied the village shortly after the aerial attack. Initially, it was reported that two men were killed in the attack.
During the first week of February, various reliable sources released the information that more than 20 people went missing. Later on, when the security forces left and released those arrested, the villagers found scents of corpses and located various bodies that were cut into pieces, burnt and placed near monasteries and in the bushes. Therefore, an estimated number of 20 villagers were believed to be burnt, with their bodies cut into pieces, by the vicious Myanmar military. In addition to that, the news also noted that a 13-year-old girl remained missing. Initial news noted that the girl could possibly be raped by the security forces, and her dead body might also be included among the victims.
On 7 February, Khit Thit Media interviewed a local villager there and released information that security forces of the military intentionally cut the bodies of the victims into pieces and burned them so that their identities and the number of victims could not be verified. Only the bodies of U Myo Chit, U Khin Maung Soe and Daw Khin Win could be identified. Although their bodies were not burnt, U Khin Maung Soe had a gun shot with a half open head.
During that incident, a lot of villagers lost their lives in the fire, various houses were set on fire, and properties of the villagers, including a plentiful amount of gold and cash, were looted by the military forces. These forces of the military are clearly continuing to commit massacres involving mass killings of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of civilian property, and looting, which crimes against humanity.
2) Disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attack against civilians, including children
International Humanitarian law strictly prohibits armed forces from attacking civilians who do not take part or no longer takes part in hostilities. This is a provision of the common article (3) of the Geneva Conventions, and belligerent parties are obliged to abide by it whether in international or non-international armed conflicts. Furthermore, ii is regarded as customary international law and binding on all parties, even if they have not ratified the Additional Protocol (II) of the Geneva Conventions.
In contrast to its legal duties, on 17 January 2022, in Hpruso Township, Karenni State (Kayah State), the military launched an airstrike and hit the IDP camps located in the area, causing the death of three civilians, one aged 12, another 15 and the last one 52.
During the recent weeks, Karenni State and Sagaing Region, along with other states and regions, have been targeted for bomb attacks by the vicious Myanmar military. The military, acting indiscriminately and targeting civilian areas, has been killing civilians in numerous bombings. Regardless of the settings, this inhumane regime has been carrying out violent bomb attacks even in the IDP camps where people seek safety and shelter. Various victims, including innocent children, are losing their lives and facing death too early. On 23 January 2022, a 28-year-old woman and her six-year-old son were both killed due to a blast in Palaw Township, Tanintharyi Region. It was clearly reported that the military set off an explosive device in retribution for a clash they had with the anti-regime defence forces. They have been casually and frequently setting explosive devices in villages without paying any attention to the life and security of the villagers. Another incident took place on 30 January 2022, in Ayadaw Township, Sagaing Region, where four civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed during a bomb attack perpetrated by the military.
The principle of proportionality is not only a cardinal principle of the International Humanitarian Law but also considered Customary International Law, which is respected and practiced by all civilized nations. The Myanmar security forces’ excessive use of force and indiscriminate attacks against civilians are clear violations of international law. The military’s atrocities prove that they have been exceedingly violating all laws, both at the domestic and international levels. Therefore, the international community must act immediately and take effective actions on such serious violations of international law before additional Myanmar civilians become targeted by the atrocious Myanmar military.
The reports above include multiple unlawful attacks by the military on children, resulting in the deprivation of their right to life. On 1 February 2022, the military soldiers randomly opened fire in Myitkyina Township, Kachin State, shooting and killing a seven-year-old boy.
According to a report by Save the Children, and international non-governmental humanitarian organization, it was sorrowfully noted that 150,000 children have been displaced across Myanmar and separated from their families, schools and homes since 1 February 2021. In these bomb attacks, many children have been forced to flee their homes, facing unnecessary fears on a daily basis and losing access to food, clean water, healthcare and education. If it was not for the Myanmar military’s failure to uphold the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Convention on the Rights of the Child, these children should not have to bear such insecurities.
3) Targeting volunteers from the medical field and reporters
On 18 January 2022, in Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region, two male reporters working for the Dawei Watch News Media were arrested by the military at around 2 am. Three days later, on 21 January 2022, another reporter from the Magwe Post, who was detained since March last year, was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Under international law, journalists and other media personnel are considered civilians', and the media sector is protected as civilians. Furthermore, journalist must be permitted to exercise their rights for free expression and media freedom. Thus, committing attacks against them are undeniably unlawful under international law.
On 26 January 2022, in Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region, approximately thirty soldiers raided a charity clinic and arrested seven volunteers working at the clinic, and the soldiers seized an ambulance, medications and medical appliances. According to a local’s statement, the whereabouts of the arrested are unknown since taken. It was known that those volunteers were only in their 20s and had been conducting healthcare work, including COVID-19 treatment, for the community
4) Atrocities committed by the paramilitary wing of the military
In addition to the forces of the military, its paramilitary wing, in other words, the lackeys known as Pyu Saw Htee, have been continuously committing various crimes on the regime’s behalf. They have been intensifying their vicious acts bit by bit throughout the illegal coup. Lately, the Pyu Saw Htee group raided Doutyat Village, in Mon State’s Bilin Township on 17 January 2022; Letpan Hla Village in Khin-u Township, Sagaing Region on 19 January 2022; Nay Yin Village in Yesagyo Township, Magway Region on 21 January 2022; and Ywar Soe Village in Shwebo Township, Sagaing Region on 24 January. During most of their raids on villages, they either opened fire unprovoked at innocent civilians who are running in fear or set fire on the entire village and killed various villagers, including disabled persons. In addition, they have been mercilessly targeting and attacking young villagers whom they allege to be members of the anti-military defence forces and participants in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).
5) Other outrages
According to AAPP, a pregnant woman who would have given birth was shot in the chest by the military at the top of the Innwin street in Nan Taw Yar Ward, Bago Region. The victim died at the hospital on 31 January 2022, the same day she was shot.
RFA also made a list noting the number of those who died during interrogation in the last year. According to the list, 110 people died during this period, most of whom are men, but also including women, with the youngest aged 19 and the oldest 72.
6) Damaging Civilian Property
According to the statement of a local from Nga Wea Taw Village, soldiers of the inhumane military intentionally burnt down rice crops which worth five million Myanmar Kyats, a tractor and a two-storey house in the village. Myanmar Now reported that the damages were even greater, including other properties of the people. As a consequence to their atrocities, various villagers; boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, had to leave their houses and properties and flee in fear. These kinds of actions against civilians’ infrastructure and food supplies can be regarded as a collective punishment. Prohibition of collective punishment is the norm of customary international law, applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts. Therefore, it is now critically the time for the international community to consider the Myanmar military generals as war criminals based on their serious violations of both human rights and humanitarian laws.
Ref : Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
: Khit Thit Media
: Myanmar Now
: RFA Burmese
: Save the Children