UN demands war crime investigation against Burma’s military junta

Geneva, Mar. 12: Ahead of this year's controversial Burmese elections, a senior UN official has called for an inquiry against the country's military rulers into allegations of war crimes perpetrated against Burmese civilians.

UN's Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, has described "a pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights" which he said has been in place for many years and still continued.

"There is an indication that those human rights violations are the result of a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels," The Guardian quoted from his draft report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, as saying.

"The possibility exists that some of these [violations] may entail categories of crimes against humanity, or war crimes, under the terms of the statute of the international criminal court," it adds.

In this context, Quintana said the UN security council should consider setting up a "commission of inquiry with a specific, fact-finding mandate to address the question of international crimes".

His assessment came as the Military junta published a tranche of new electoral laws that restrict the ability of opposition parties to participate in the coming elections.

"During his last mission [in February], the special rapporteur received no indication that all prisoners of conscience will be released, that freedom of opinion and association will be guaranteed in the context of these elections, and that ethnic communities will be able to fully participate," the UN report said.

Pressure to set up an international commission of inquiry into Burma has previously come from NGOs and activists involved in the country.

Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by the jailed Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has repeatedly drawn attention to widespread, ongoing human rights abuses, including the jailing of 2,000 political prisoners. It also says the planned elections will not be free or fair.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com