Global Justice Center Blog

Myanmar inquiry into treatment of Rohingya condemned as 'cover-up'

Excerpt of The Guardian article that features GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

The panel report, said Akila Radhakrishnan, a human rights lawyer and the President of the Global Justice Centre, was fundamentally flawed. “It’s methodology has been criticised since it was announced, the last fact [UN] finding mission report laid out a series of concerns that they had - from the lack of a clear mandate to to its dependency on the Myanmar government and questionable operating procedures.

“The [panel] commissioners themselves said they’re not going to be able to point the finger, that they are not looking to establish accountability.”

Radhakrishnan added that by admitting some abuses took place, the report appeared to be attempting to reassure the international community, and that the timing of the report was significant. “This is their way of saying we have this impartial independent process - you need to leave domestic accountability to us,” she said.

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World Court to Rule on Emergency Measures in Rohingya Genocide Case

Excerpt of Reuters article that features GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Although the Myanmar case in The Hague is only at an early stage, human rights lawyer Akila Radhakrishnan said it has already had an impact.

"Since the case was filed we've seen the government take some action to ensure accountability, like issuing a court martial. Now the military justice system is deeply flawed but its something that wasn't there before," she said.

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Myanmar’s Silence on Rape Against Rohingya Is Cruel and Dangerous

Excerpt of Pass Blue op-ed by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Last month, the world was struck by an unusual image — that of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi — standing in court to defend and deny genocide. What was striking was not only what she and Myanmar’s legal team said but also what wasn’t said: the total failure of Myanmar to respond to the allegations of mass sexual violence against the Rohingya, including rape.

As Prof. Philippe Sands, counsel for The Gambia, which brought the case against Myanmar, said, “Madame agent, your silence says far more than your words.”

In fact, the words “sexual violence” passed through the lips of Myanmar’s team just once during the three-day hearings at the International Court of Justice in December, only to say that it is “a phenomenon that regrettably occurs in many parts of the world and that we all condemn unequivocally.”

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Myanmar finds war crimes but no genocide in Rohingya crackdown

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that features GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

But refugees carried consistent accounts of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson with them and have so far largely refused to return for fear of their safety.

“All signs point to what human rights experts and Rohingya themselves already know, which is that the government has no intention of bringing perpetrators of mass rape and other genocidal crimes to justice,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center said in a statement.

“This Commission is just yet another domestic attempt to deflect responsibility and whitewash the situation of the Rohingya.”

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Myanmar “Independent” Commission on Rohingya Violence Submits Final Report

Report Confirms Human Rights Experts’ Charges that Commission Won’t Provide Real Accountability

NEW YORK – The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE), established by the Government of Myanmar to investigate human rights abuses in Rakhine State, submitted its final report to Myanmar’s government today. The full report is not yet public and its submission comes days before an International Court of Justice ruling that could impose immediately binding obligations on Myanmar.

The report acknowledged some human rights abuses occurred in the context of what it deemed an “internal armed conflict,” but found no evidence of genocidal intent, contradicting independent United Nations investigations and numerous human rights organizations. The Commission also asserts that its full report and annexes can be used as the basis for domestic investigations, including by the military justice system as a venue for accountability, despite the military’s history of protecting soldiers who carried out human rights abuses and the significant flaws of the system. The report also seemingly fails, like the Government of Myanmar, to use the term “Rohingya” which continues to deny the identity of the group.

“All signs point to what human rights experts and Rohingya themselves already know, which is that the government has no intention of bringing perpetrators of mass rape and other genocidal crimes to justice,” said Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center. “This Commission is just yet another domestic attempt to deflect responsibility and whitewash the situation of the Rohingya.”

The ICOE was established in June 2018 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine state. The Commission said from the outset it would not seek to hold anyone accountable and it was formed to “respond to false allegations made by UN agencies.” This bias, as well as a lack of transparency around the Commission’s methods, led the United Nations Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar to conclude last year that the commission “does not constitute an effective independent investigations mechanism.”

“The UN Fact-Finding Mission was right when it said accountability must come from the international community,” said Radhakrishnan. “We must continue to support ongoing efforts seeking true accountability for the crimes against the Rohingya, including The Gambia’s case at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court’s current investigation.”