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UN looking into potential crimes against humanity in Myanmar

The United Nations is looking into reports that over a thousand individuals had been killed in Myanmar in the past year in circumstances that may qualify as crimes against humanity or war crimes.

A UN official said on Tuesday.

Nicholas Koumjian, the head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, said that security forces had detained thousands of civilians in circumstances that include credible allegations of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence and even killings while in detention.

“The Mechanism is working diligently to substantiate and document the facts underlying these reports to establish whether these crimes were committed and if so, who is criminally responsible, and to prepare files that could facilitate prosecutions,’’ Koumjian explained in a statement.

He said that “a great deal of relevant material concerning these events’’ had already been gathered.

Koumjian pointed out that investigations of serious international crimes “are always challenging.”

“It typically takes a long time and significant resources to build good cases,’’ he added.

“The Mechanism is very grateful to the many thousands of persons and organisations that have shared evidence relevant to our examination of serious international crimes in Myanmar,’’ Koumjian said.

Myanmar marks the first anniversary on Tuesday of the coup in the South-East Asian country. The country has since descended into chaos and violence.

On February 1 2021, Myanmar’s generals ousted leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint and have ruled with an iron fist ever since.

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi is under house arrest and has since been sentenced to several years in prison. (dpa/NAN)

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