domingo, 20 de septiembre de 2009

Birmania por la Paz files a CRIMINAL LAWSUIT in Spain’s Special High Court (Audiencia Nacional) against the Burmese Military Junta, exercising popular

Barcelona 18 September 2009

Birmania por la Paz will exercise popular action against Burma’s Military Junta for crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, terrorism and other international crimes.

The association Birmania por la Paz has filed a CRIMINAL LAWSUIT, exercising POPULAR ACTION for CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, WAR CRIMES, TORTURE AND TERRORISM, against senior members of Burma’s Military Junta. The lawsuit is co-signed by the world’s most important organizations for democracy and human rights in Burma, and the
international defence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The persons considered responsible for the acts described in the lawsuit, and referred to as the accused, are as follows: MAUNG AYE, commander in chief of the Burmese army and Burma’s second highest military authority; MAUNG OO, general commander and minister of the interior, in charge of Burma’s police force and penitentiary system; HLA HTAY WIN, general commander of the Burmese army, in charge of the military command in Rangoon during the massacres of 1988 and 2007; HLA
MIN, brigadier general in charge of the 11th Light Infantry Division of the military command in Rangoon during the massacre of 2007; KHIN YE, general director of the police and one of the leading figures of the repression in Rangoon in 2007; MYINT SWE, general commander in charge of the National Intelligence Service since 2004.

Before filing this legal initiative, the president of the plaintiff association, Concha Pinós declared: “Burma has a solution, it is only a matter of applying the principles of justice. Burma’s Military Junta must be revealed for what it is: the lackey of multinationals and international interests that oppress the Burmese people. As we have seen in the latest sentence passed on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the West has a responsibility to protect, watch over and denounce all that is taking place within that country, correcting the media and promoting a safe path back to democracy.”

The lawsuit covers acts committed since the military oppression began in 1988 to the Depayin massacre of 2003, plus the crimes committed in the saffron revolution of 2007, the blocking of humanitarian aid to the victims of the cyclone Nargis in 2008, which constitute a crime against humanity, together with the systematic use of torture in Burma, sexual violence against Burmese women, forced relocations and forced labour inflicted on civilians of Burma’s ethnic minorities, and the forced recruitment of child soldiers.

The lawsuit also requests, in addition to its acceptance, that a series of victims and eyewitnesses of the international crimes that continue to be committed in Burma testify before the judge, and that a legal commission visit the Burmese refugee camps in Thailand in order to verify the acts denounced.

José Elías Esteve, research lawyer for the case (and also the legal representative for the Tibet cases being investigated by the Audiencia Nacional) has declared: “The Spanish courts gave jurisdiction to cover international crimes, as Burma does not recognise the International Criminal Court, and it is unthinkable that the Burmese courts have any intention of trying their own leaders of the Military Junta, especially as the judges are subordinate to these leaders; this “culture of
impunity” having been denounced by the UN special rapporteurs in several reports”.

Lastly, the Burmese leaders who promote the Plan for National Reconciliation in Burma, Dr. Thaung Htun and Foreign Minister in exile, Bo Hla Tint, both of whom are victims of torture and war crimes and are due to visit Spain on 23rd and 24th September, have declared: “Spain is a reference point in the fight against impunity throughout the world and her example should inspire other democratic states to defend human rights.” When informed of the proposed reform of universal justice,
however, he added: “This modification is a clear message to genocidal dictators throughout the world to continue with the barbarity, like that in my own country, Burma. The West talks about defending human rights, but to whom can victims such as us turn to defend our lives, if they close all the doors?”

For interviews or further information please contact:

Concha Pinós, director of Birmania por la Paz - Burma Campaign, Spain

José Elias Esteve, lawyer of the lawsuit, Tlf: 680 420 639 - , mail: ; movil: