The Argentinian judiciary has taken a step to open a case against the Myanmar military – including Min Aung Hlaing and much of the current junta's senior leadership – over the genocide against the Rohingyas, said Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) on Sunday.
On 26 November, 2021, the Second Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court in Buenos Aires confirmed that it would launch a case against senior Myanmar officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which holds that some crimes are so horrific that they can be tried anywhere.
BROUK first petitioned the Argentinian judiciary to open such a case in November 2019.
"This is a day of hope not just for us Rohingya but for oppressed people everywhere. The decision in Argentina shows that there is nowhere to hide for those who commit genocide – the world stands firmly united against these abhorrent crimes," said Tun Khin, President of BROUK.
The Second Chamber of the Appeal Court reaffirmed in its resolution that "the gravity of the facts and the violation of ius cogens norms permit that those facts are investigated in our country".
"We applaud the Argentinian judiciary for showing the courage and moral leadership to take up this case. Justice for decades of dehumanising and killings of Rohingya in Myanmar is now within reach," Tun Khin said.
"This is not just about accountability for Rohingya, however, but for everyone who has suffered under the Myanmar military's brutal reign. This includes the thousands killed, injured, tortured or disappeared since the coup in February this year."
The case relates to crimes perpetrated against the Rohingya by Myanmar authorities in Rakhine State for decades. In 2017, the Myanmar military and its proxies launched a vicious campaign in the region, committing the worst atrocities and driving close to 800,000 Rohingya to flee across the border into Bangladesh. The case includes the particular situation of six women who were raped, tortured and in many cases their husbands and children killed during that genocidal campaign in Rakhine State.
International justice efforts
The case in Argentina is the first universal jurisdiction case concerning the Rohingya genocide anywhere in the world, but not the only international legal process against the Myanmar authorities.
As mentioned above, the ICC in November 2019 approved an investigation into Myanmar for crimes against humanity against the Rohingya.
The Gambia in November 2019 launched a case against Myanmar for violating the Genocide Convention with the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In January 2020, the ICJ imposed "provisional measures" on Myanmar as part of the case, essentially a legal injunction ordering the end to genocidal practices against the Rohingya.
"There is no question that the Myanmar authorities are feeling the pressure of the many international justice efforts that are under way. The architects of the genocide against the Rohingya can and should soon face a Court of Law. We urge the international community to redouble efforts to bring about justice and ensure that this momentum is not lost," said Tun Khin.