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15 Sep, 2017

Permanent People’s Tribunal on Myanmar to be held in Kuala Lumpur 18-22 Sept

Kuala Lumpur, 15 Sept (International Movement for a Just World) – The Permanent Peoples Tribunal’s concluding session on Myanmar which will convene at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur from the 18th to the 22nd of September 2017 has assumed extraordinary significance in light of the UN Security Council’s unanimous call to the Myanmar government to end its military campaign against the Rohingyas on 13th September 2017.

The nature of this military campaign and the horrendous consequences emanating from it will be vividly described in the testimonies of its victims at the Tribunal. It is not just the severely persecuted Muslim Rohingyas who will speak. Christian Kachins and the Buddhist Ta’ang minority will also be presenting serious allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.

An important dimension to the persecution of the Rohingyas — how it has impacted upon Bangladesh and its people — will be highlighted through the participation of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh in the proceedings.

There will also be renowned expert witnesses who will testify. Among them, Greg Stanton, Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University in the United States of America. He is widely regarded internationally as one of the most authoritative voices on the crime of genocide.

The prosecution will be led by Doreen Chen from Australia, a human rights lawyer who is the co-founder and director of Destination Justice through which she supports persecuted human rights defenders, particularly in Southeast Asia.  

The PPT had also invited Myanmar State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, Vice-President Myint Swe and Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to appear before the Tribunal or to make a representation. They did not reply.

Kofi Annan,the Chair of the Rakhine Commission, did respond to the PPT invitation. He is not able to attend.

The arguments of the prosecution, the views of the expert witnesses and the testimonies of the victims will be analysed by a panel of judges with exemplary credentials. They come from different countries and backgrounds. Their brief bios appear below.

The findings of the judges will be communicated to various UN Human Rights bodies including its Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Office of the Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in New York will also receive the findings. Civil society groups all over the world would also be brought into the picture. The media has a critical role to play in disseminating the findings of the Tribunal.

One hopes that the media will emphasise the two principal goals of the Tribunal. One, exposing with incontrovertible evidence the true situation in Myanmar and using that as a basis for spreading public awareness. Two, strengthening international law and international institutions in our endeavour to ensure that justice is done to the Rohingyas, Kachins and other minorities in Myanmar.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,

On behalf of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal and the Malaysian Organising Committee comprising the International Movement for a Just World (JUST); the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) and the International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim Relations (BMF).

14 September 2017, Malaysia.

*The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT), based in Rome, is an internationally recognised public opinion tribunal functioning independently of state authorities. It applies internationally recognised human rights law and policy to cases brought before it.

Panel of Judges

Daniel Feierstein (Argentina)

A researcher at CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research), based at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (Third of February National University), Argentina, where he founded and runs the Centre for Genocide Studies. He holds a chair in the Faculty of Social Sciences of Buenos Aires University, teaching ‘analysis of genocidal social practices’. He is the former President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS, 2013-2015).

Zulaiha Ismail (Malaysia)

Currently a Trustee of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, an NGO committed to energising peace and criminalising wars. As past Executive Director, she organised international conferences, and participated in humanitarian aid projects as well as engaging with fellow activists around the world. She also serves in the KL Foundation to Criminalise War, and sits on its Commission in investigating war crimes. This has resulted in three International Tribunals being held, one of which addressed Israeli war crimes. She continues to work in a personal capacity with NGO’s in Lebanon, specifically on the plight of Palestinian refugee camps, with a focus on their right of return.

Helen Jarvis (Cambodia-Australia)

She holds a PhD from the University of Sydney in Indonesian studies. Since the mid-1990s, she has worked on issues relating to crimes against humanity and genocide, mainly focusing on Cambodia, including service as Chief of Public Affairs and then Chief of the Victims’ Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Helen is a Vice-President of the Permanent People’s Tribunal and a member of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program and of the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Justice in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Gill H. Boehringer (Australia)

Former Head of Law School, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, he has also taught and researched in universities of the USA, Northern Ireland, England, and Tanzania. He has taught many subjects in law as well as sociology of education, sociology of deviance, anthropology, and criminology. Has served as a panel member on the Permanent People’s Tribunal in Cambodia inquiring into the garment industry, in Mexico inquiring into globalization and the social crisis, and Indonesia on the garment industry.

Nursyahbani Katjasungkana (Indonesia)

She is a human rights lawyer, working at several NGO’s mainly committed to human and women’s rights. She was Director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (1987-1993), co-founder of APIK, Indonesian Women Association for Justice. She was member of the Peoples’ Consultative Assembly (1999-2004) and member of Parliament (2004-2009). She served as prosecutor of The Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (Tokyo, 2000) and General Coordinator of the International People’s Tribunal on Crimes against Humanity and Genocide 1965-1966 in Indonesia. Currently she is the National Coordinator of the Indonesian Association of Legal Aid Societies for Women.

Chowdhury R. Abrar (Bangladesh)

 C R Abrar teaches International Relations and directs the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has done research on Rohingya refugees, Bihari stateless people, labour migration and recruitment industry issues. Abrar was instrumental in the movement for citizenship rights of the camp dwelling Bihari people and civic campaign for allowing admission to Rohingya refugees. He also successfully filed public interest litigation for the release of several Rohingya asylum seekers who served out their sentence but were still languishing in prisons. Dr. Abrar is President of leading rights organisation Odhikar (Rights) of Bangladesh. He studied at the Universities of Dhaka and Sussex, and Griffith University, Australia. He is a regular contributor on migration and rights issues to English dailies.

Shadi Sadr (Iran)

She is an Iranian human rights lawyer who has a Masters of International Law from the University of Tehran. She is the founder and director of Raahi, a legal centre for women, which was closed down by the Iranian authorities in 2007 in a wave of repression against civil society. She has received several awards such as the Human Rights Tulip and Alexander Prize of the Law School of Santa Clara University. In 2010 Shadi Sadr established the organisation Justice for Iran (JFI), which aims to address and eradicate the practice of impunity in the country. As its Executive Director, she has overseen the creation and implementation of several research projects on the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTs, women, and those who are persecuted because of their political beliefs. Shadi Sadr served as a member of the panel of judges for the International People’s Tribunal on Crimes against Humanity and Genocide 1965-1966 in Indonesia.

Nello Rossi (Italy)

He is currently Solicitor General at the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy. Since 2007 until 2015 he was the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Deputy in Rome, coordinator of the departments specialising in economic crimes and computer crimes. From 2002 to 2007 he was a Justice at the Court of Cassation , in the criminal division of the Court. Until 2016 he was also the Ministry of Justice delegate to the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering ( FATF) set up by the OECD. For nearly 15 years, to 2012, he co-edited the legal journal “Questione Giustizia” under the auspices of Magistratura Democratica.