The EU is pushing for a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity against Myanmar’s Rohingya population, according to a draft obtained by POLITICO.
The push from the EU during the course of a two-week session that finishes on September 28 comes after an independent fact-finding mission to Myanmar last month found evidence of “genocidal intent” of the minority Muslim population in Rakhine State and recommended the commander-in-chief and other generals in the Myanmar military should be brought to justice.
The draft resolution proposed by the EU stresses “the urgent need to ensure that all those responsible for crimes related to violations and abuses of international human rights law are held to account through credible and independent national or international criminal justice mechanisms.”
It adds that Myanmar should accept the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Last week the ICC ruled that it has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity, a claim that was immediately rejected by the government in Myanmar.
Putting Myanmar military officials on trial at the ICC would require a resolution inside the U.N. Security Council, an eventuality that is unlikely due to the veto powers of both China and Russia.
The EU draft resolution at the Human Rights Council in Geneva has encountered resistance from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an inter-governmental organization consisting of 57 states in the Muslim world.
An OIC draft resolution obtained by POLITICO has no reference to the prosecuting people in Myanmar for war crimes.
On Thursday, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, said the bloc was open to expanding sanctions against Myanmar, as reported by POLITICO last weekend.
“In light of the U.N. report we are also considering to strengthen these restrictive measures. We’ve also made clear to the Myanmar authorities that our trade preferences with Myanmar are linked to clear conditions on human rights and democracy and that to preserve our current trade arrangements we need to see decisive action to improve the situation,” Mogherini told lawmakers in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The EU’s draft resolution also expresses “grave concerns” that two Reuters journalists investigating the killing of Rohingya villagers in Rakhine State were sentenced to seven years in jail. It calls for “their immediate and unconditional release.”