Permanent Peoples Tribunal Judgment

PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL

Founder: LELIO BASSO (ITALY)

President:

FRANCO IPPITO (ITALY)

Vicepresidents:

LUIZA ERUNDINA DE SOUSA (BRASIL)

JAVIER GIRALDO MORENO (COLOMBIA)

HELEN JARVIS (AUSTRALIA)

PHILIPPE TEXIER (FRANCE)

Secretary General:

GIANNI TOGNONI (ITALY)

Session on

State Crimes Allegedly Committed in Myanmar against the Rohingyas, Kachins and Other Groups

University of Malaja, Faculty of Law

18-22 September 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

JUDGMENT

General Secretariat:

VIA DELLA DOGANA VECCHIA 5 - 00186 ROME - TEL:0039 0668801468

E-mail:ppt@permanentpeoplestribunal.org

www.tribunalepermanentedeipopoli.fondazionebasso.it

CONTENTS

I. GENERAL HISTORICAL AND JURIDICAL FRAMEWORK

II. THE PROCEDURE FOR THIS SESSION OF THE PPT

III.- PRESENTATION OF THE FACTS

IV.- THE STATE OF MYANMAR AND THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

V.- QUALIFICATION OF THE FACTS

VI.- RECOMENDATIONS

General Secretariat:

VIA DELLA DOGANA VECCHIA 5 - 00186 ROME - TEL:0039 0668801468

E-mail:ppt@permanentpeoplestribunal.org

www.tribunalepermanentedeipopoli.fondazionebasso.it

I. GENERAL HISTORICAL AND JURIDICAL FRAMEWORK

  1. The competence of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an International opinion tribunal, indipendent from any state authority. It examines cases regarding violations of human rights and the rights of peoples.

Promoted by the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples, the PPT was founded in June 1979, in Bologna, Italy, by a broad spectrum of legal experts, writers, and other cultural community leaders from 31 countries. The PPT is routed in the historical experience of the Russell Tribunal on Vietnam (1966-67) and on dictatorships in Latin America (1974-1976). The importance of strength of decisions by the PPT rest on the moral weight of the causes and arguments to which they give credibility, as well as the integrity and capability to judge the Tribunal members.

While fully recognizing the reference role of the Institutions of the international community of the States and the juridical instruments, the PPT assumed as its Statute (and in its denomination) the Universal Declaration of Peoples’ Rights (Algiers, 1976), which underline its aim: to give visibility and legitimacy to the authority of Peoples when the States and the International Bodies failed to protect their right, due to geopolitical reasons or other motivations.

Complains heard by the Tribunal are submitted by the victims, or by groups or individuals representing them. The PPT calls together all parties concerned and offers the defendants the possibilities to make their own arguments heard. The panel of the judges is selected for each case by combining members who belong to a permanent list and individuals who are recognized for their competence and integrity.

From June 1979 to the present the PPT has held 43 Sessions whose results and judgments are available at: www.permanentpeoplestribunal.org.

The permanent and increasing challenge of the original working hypothesis has been confirmed by the spectrum of cases which requested the competence of the PPT as the instrument which could make visible and qualify the violations of their fundamental rights to self-determination and to life, in the absence of, or denial by, institutional, juridical and political level of response. The verdicts and deliberations of the PPT represent in this sense a narrative of international law as seen from the side of peoples, when their status of victims is translated into that of the only legitimate subjects to whom the public and private powers are accountable, beyond their legal impunity.

For the purpose of this case on the violations of the rights of peoples of Myanmar, it is useful to refer specifically to the doctrine developed by the PPT in the deliberations where State crimes have been committed against individuals and groups of the same countries, transformed from citizens into enemies, and/or “other”, and as such exposed in full impunity to processes of discriminations leading to a genocide, only too late, or never recognized: Argentine and its desaparecidos, 1980; East Timor, lead case of the first neo-colonial genocide, 1981; Guatemala, and its indigenous populations, 1983; the determinants and the responsible of the Armenian genocide, 1984; the peoples of the ex-Yugoslavia, 1995; victims of Islamic fundamentalism of Algeri, 2004; the communities of Colombia, 2006-8. An even more specific reference must be made to the two Sessions on the case of Tamil (Dublin, 2019; Bremen, 2013) which could be, from the methodological and doctrinal point of view, considered an integration and support of this deliberation.

1.2 The specificity of this Session

The attention of the PPT for the situation of peoples of Myanmar dates back in 2013, when Myanmar was hardly considered, and even less known, as a case where the (already ongoing) violations could be seen as the other face of a state undergoing a militarily controlled democratic transformation, and a woman icon of peace was portrayed as an indisputable guarantee for a future where all the citizens of the country could be recognized as inviolable subjects of their rights to a life in dignity.

The rapidly – not unexpectedly – evolving situation with the dramatic incidents of October 2016, transformed the preparatory phase into a procedure of urgency, even more because of the absolute world invisibility of what appeared to be a dramatic “case”.

An Opening Session of the PPT was convened in London (Queen Mary University, 6-7 March 2017). The reports, the witnesses , the closing remarks of that Session , must be considered and referred to as an integral part of this Judgment. Despite the clear alarm of an evolving genocide, the findings did not however draw the attention of the international community nor of the public opinion.

Only on the eve of this Session, the suffering of the Rohingya peoples finally and belatedly seized world attention, for the consistent accumulation of increasingly dramatic information reports from NGOs and international UN agencies. Within tthree weeks, nearly half a million people crossed the border from western Myanmar into Bangladesh, telling harrowing stories of the carnage they left behind as they crammed into open fishing boats or trudged along muddy paths carrying babies and elderly and bundles of meagre possessions, seeing the plumes of smoke soar into the air as their homes and villages were burnt to the ground.

The consensus of many sources, specifically on the humanitarian crisis of the population of the Rakhine State, in their land and in their search for refuge, could not be clearer, beyond the permanent denial of the civil and military authorities of Myanmar, and it was in this sense openly and repeatedly underlined even by the UN Secretary General António Guterres.

As clearly set out in the indictment which synthesized the available overwhelming written, visual, factual and analytical documentation, the request and the task for the PPT, went beyond giving more visibility to what already known but, according to the terms of reference established in the London Session:

a) to broaden the focus from the most tragically and acutely affected population of the Rohingyas to the general policy