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Dhaka Tribune

Myanmar nationals ask Philippines to probe alleged war crimes

  • Myanmar requests Philippines to probe military war crimes against Chin minority     
  • Myanmar nationals' lawyers file complaint against junta chief and nine others in Manila
  • Justice Secretary Remulla to assess 'novel' complaint   
Update : 25 Oct 2023, 09:57 PM

Five Myanmar nationals asked the Philippines on wednesday to investigate alleged war crimes committed by 10 serving or former members of Myanmar's military against the mainly Christian Chin minority.

Filipino lawyers representing the Myanmar nationals told reporters they lodged the "landmark" criminal complaint against junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and nine others at the Department of Justice in Manila.

They asked prosecutors to open an investigation into alleged war crimes under a Philippine law penalizing "crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide, and other crimes against humanity."

The five Myanmar nationals are from the western Chin state but now live in Australia, Britain, Canada, and India. They were at the justice department in Manila.

"This is a landmark suit because this is the very first time that such a case is being brought before the Philippines," Romel Bagares, one of the lawyers, told reporters.

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla said his department would "evaluate" the complaint, which he described as "very novel."

"If this is sufficient in form and substance, that's the time when we will require the respondents to answer these complaints," Remulla told reporters.

Among the accused is Chin Chief Minister Vung Suan Thang, who is a former military officer. The others are serving members of the military.

The complaint alleged that members of Myanmar's military killed a pastor and two church elders in Thantlang town, Chin, in September 2021.

It also accused the 10 of "intentionally" directing attacks on churches and the burning of hundreds of houses in the same town between August 2021 and June 2022.

They also allegedly blocked relief supplies from reaching people in Chin State in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha in May.

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