Burma: executions of opponents can be considered war crimes, according to the UN

For the head of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Burma, “the fundamental rights of people” sentenced to death by the junta “have been flagrantly violated”.

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Death sentences for political opponents in Burma can constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity, says Nicholas Koumjian, director of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Burma (OHCHR). The UN official explained on Monday June 20 in a written statement (in English) follow closely the four executions announced on June 3 by the ruling Burmese junta.

These executions target in particular a former member of the party of ex-leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a famous pro-democracy activist. The regime has sentenced dozens of activists to death since the February 2021 coup, but the country has not carried out any executions since 1990.

According to Nicholas Koumjian, “The available information strongly suggests [que] the fundamental rights of convicted persons have been flagrantly violated”. He points in particular to the absence of a public procedure. Gold “imposing a death sentence, or even a period of detention, on the basis of a procedure which does not meet the basic requirements of a fair trial may constitute one or more crimes against humanity or war crimes”he observed.

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